The Welsh Government has consulted on proposals in 2012 and, as at the end of 2013, is considering revisions to policy and a further consultation before any formal proposals are made for legislative change.
The proposals outlined in 'Forward in partnership' (Welsh Government, 2012) [.pdf] (external link) are discussed below.
Integrated planning and delivery
It is proposed that the system of framework of provision for special educational needs (SEN) is replaced with a process of integrated assessment and planning for children and young people (aged 0–25 inclusive) identified as having additional learning needs.
It is proposed that an individual development plan will be developed from a flexible person-centred approach. This plan will be regularly reviewed and updated. The age range will be from birth to 25 for those with severe and/or complex needs. The plan will be coordinated by a support coordinator. The person-centred methodology focuses on the following questions.
- What is important to the child or young person?
- What is important for the child or young person?
- What is working well?
- What is not working?
- What are the child’s or young person’s strengths?
- What challenges does the child or young person face?
Multi-agency working will be required for those with the highest level of need. The intention is to ensure integration of effort wherever possible for those children who also receive health or social care support.
Extended age range
The multi-agency arrangements will be relevant for an extended age range from birth to 25 for those children and young people with severe and/or complex needs (birth to 19 for those with less severe needs). This will reflect the current Early support model (external link) for young children with disabilities and ease transition to post school opportunities at the higher end of the age scale.
Dealing with concerns and disagreements and appeal to Tribunal
It is intended that the current reforms shift the emphasis away from dealing with disputes and complaints towards a strategy of prevention and early resolution of concerns and disagreements. There will be a continued right of appeal to the SEN Tribunal for Wales (SENTW), but a dispute resolution service would be expected to be used in the first place.
There will be a new code of practice and guidance put in place to ensure that each relevant body is appropriately following the new code. It is intended to significantly improve the quality assurance processes relating to children and young people by introducing a system which tracks outcomes for the learners, resources allocated to meet their assessed needs, feedback from the learner and their parent/carers and performance indicators.
Post-16 specialist placements
Local authorities will be encouraged to work with local further education colleges in order to deliver a wider range of provision for learners post-16. It is proposed that local authorities to be responsible for assessing, securing and funding these placements (currently the Welsh Government is responsible for this).
This activity seeks to encourage reflection. Consider these issues and whether they would/could impact on your classroom practice.
Pilot projects in Wales
In the context of the current reform proposals for Wales, the following local authorities took part in pilot projects:
|Local authority||Pilot project|
|Cardiff||Role of the additional learning needs coordinator (ALNCo)|
|Newport||Role of the ALNCo|
|Torfaen||Complex needs/Less complex needs|
|Pembrokeshire||Less complex needs|
|Bridgend||Less complex needs|
The intention of this activity is to gather information, and to reflect on appropriate dissemination. Has your school been involved in one of the projects? If so, what is your response to the activity? As a class teacher, how would sharing information on these developments be most effective?