Matthew Wyard evaluates new Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 regulations

5th November 2020

3PB’s public law barrister Matthew WyardMatthew WyardCall: 2014, who specialises in the education sector, has evaluated the snappily-titled ‘The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (Commencement No.1) Order 2020 which came into force this Monday 2 November. Also considered was the Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (Wales) Regulations.

The Order gives powers to the Welsh Ministers to make regulations to give detail to the 2018 Act, including the ALN Co-ordinator Regulations.

The Regulations, only now placed before the Senedd, clarify the role of the ALNCo and come into force on 4 January 2021.

Wyard has said : “Potentially of most concern is the actual functions of the role of the ALNCo. These are prescribed within the 2020 Regulations and as drafted are worryingly vague and appear to delegate obligations once owed by local authorities onto schools, like the identification of a pupil’s additional learning needs.

“These are not traditionally questions that would be answered by educators. More likely, such questions would be considered and answered by a local authority in considering whether or not to undertake a statutory assessment of the relevant child. The ALNCo is also forced to now grapple with questions of law, as they are obliged to consider whether the relevant pupil has a disability within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010, without any specialist training. Moreover securing additional learning provision (and before that special educational provision) has, since the Education Act 1996, been a function of the state. No guidance is provided on how far an ALNCo (and their employing institutions) has to go in securing provision which, whilst taking up time, will also likely take up valuable financial resource.”

On a more positive note Wyard is “hopeful that January 2021 will help clear some of my concerns up. The new ALNCos will have from January until September 2021 to get on top of the new regime. Their hard work, combined with the documentation soon to be published by the Welsh Government, will hopefully dilute the emerging picture, and bring to the fore positive change.”

To read Matthew's full briefing,  please click here.

If you wish to contact Matthew, please email him on matthew.wyard@3pb.co.uk or contact his clerks Tom Cox on tom.cox@3pb.co.uk or Chris Mitchell on chris.mitchell@3pb.co.uk or call them on 0330 332 2633.