Additional Learning Needs Review

The Welsh Government is reviewing the way in which learner support needs are assessed and planned for.

Many deaf children receive a Statement or an Individual Education Plan to outline the support they need at school.

The Welsh Government wants to change this process so that all children and young people with additional learning needs will have a different plan instead, called an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The plans will be available to those aged 0-16 and to those aged 16-25 who are in further education.

About the reforms

We've created a factsheet, Additional Learning Needs Reform in Wales: Questions and answers (308 kb) [pdf]. Many of the current draft proposals will change as they are discussed by politicians. As such, this factsheet will be updated from time to time. Please check back for the latest information.

Update: August 2017

  • The draft law is currently being discussed at the Welsh Assembly. The Children, Young People and Education Committee published a report on the Bill, taking on board many of the concerns that the National Deaf Children's Society Cymru had raised. 
  • The Minister has now published his response to the issues raised in the Committee report. He has accepted many of the recommendations, including the call for a national template for the new support plan - something that the National Deaf Children's Society Cymru has long been calling for. 
  • However, the Minister remains undecided on key issues around how  the new law covers support provided to learners by health bodies. We have big concerns around this issue and urge our supporters to help us take action on this point. You can find out more here.
  • The Welsh Government has also published a draft Code of Practice. This document sets out the rules of how public bodies should put the new law into practice. In the coming weeks, we will be looking closely at the Code to see whether it addresses the needs of deaf learners.  
  • More information is available on the Welsh Government website.  

When will the system change?

The law will take some time to be passed so changes to the system will not be immediate. Once the law is passed, the Welsh Government has said the changes will be introduced in stages.

We're aware that some local authorities are already using IDPs. It is important families understand that they still have the right to request a Statement as this continues to be the legal document at present.

Our views

The National Deaf Children's Society welcomes many aspects of the draft law, but also has a number of major concerns about how it would work in practice for deaf learners and their families. These concerns are outlined in our response  to a consultation on the draft law. We also supported a joint response along with four other deaf organisations.

We have been working hard to highlight these concerns and suggest solutions to them. Over the past year, we have met with the Minister and key officials, participated in advisory groups, given evidence to the Assembly's committee and submitted reports. We have also worked closely with other third sector organisations who share our concerns and have been an active member of the Third Sector Additional Needs Alliance (TSANA).

In addition,106 of our supporters took part in a special e-action, calling on the Welsh Government to take account of the needs of deaf learners.

Get in touch

If you would like more information or have any concerns about the changes, please get in touch at

You can also contact our Helpline for support and advice on your child's support plan.