This page provides information about the role of the NHS under the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 – the ALN Act. It explains what the ALN Act means for children and young people who have additional learning needs, where the NHS are involved in meeting their needs.
The videos on this page show how Swansea Bay University Health Board collaborates with our education partners at Neath Port Talbot and Swansea Local Authorities, to make a difference for children and young people with additional learning needs.
The videos also provide information about the role of three of our service areas that have a key part to play in supporting children with additional learning needs – Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. Go here to view videos about therapy services which can help your child.
For more information about these services, and some of the other services that have an important role in supporting many children and young people with additional needs, links are provided at the bottom of this page.
What is the ALN Act? The Aims of the Act
The ALN Act is Education law in Wales. For detailed information about the Act, and what it means for you and for your family, you can visit the websites of our local authority partners:
Go here for the ALN information on the Swansea Council website
Go here for ALN information on the Neath Port Talbot Council website
Go here for Snapcymru the leading provider of independent ALN advice and support in Wales. This website contains information about the ALN Act and what families can expect
The ALN Act aims to transform the outcomes and experience of children and young people aged 0-25 who have additional learning needs, and their families. This happens through:
- identifying needs early and making sure that these needs are met;
- working in a person-centred way. This means really listening to children and young people and to their parents / carers. It means holding their views, wishes and feelings at the heart of what we do;
- taking all reasonable steps to provide support in Welsh for children and young people who need support in Welsh
The ALN Act and Collaboration: One Child, One Approach, One Life
For some children and young people with additional learning needs, NHS services have a vital part to play in helping them to thrive and make progress with their learning. NHS services need to work in a joined-up way with schools and Local Authority Education departments for this to happen. The ALN Act calls this collaboration. Collaborative working between NHS services, schools and Local Authority Education departments is well-established. For example, many NHS services provide training to Education colleagues, some services offer specialist advice and support to schools staff, and school nurses work extremely closely with schools.
To help make sure that collaboration happens in a way that makes a positive difference for children and young people with ALN, the Act places duties on Health Boards in Wales. These include:
- Letting parents and carers know, and letting the Local Authority know, where NHS professionals identify that a child of below school age is likely to have additional needs.
- This helps make sure that the needs are identified early, so the right help can be put in place.
- Providing Local Authorities with information and help that they need to make good decisions so that children and young people get the help they need and to put in place the help that children and young people need.
- Contributing to meetings to develop joined-up, person-centred plans for children and young people with additional learning needs. These plans are called Individual Development Plans, or IDPS.
- In some cases, NHS professionals will attend these meetings. In other cases, they will provide written information to the Education professional co-ordinating the meeting.
- Providing treatments and services likely to help address children and young people’s additional learning needs. These treatments and services will be part of the child’s Individual Development Plan.
- The treatments or services that the Health Board provides for children and young people with additional learning needs are what the NHS normally provides to meet healthcare needs.
- Whether or not a child has an Individual Development Plan does not change the NHS services that are available to that child or young person to meet their healthcare needs and does not change how quickly those services will be accessed. The difference is that these will become part of a joined-up plan between Education and Health, who will work together to help children and young people reach the outcomes that matter to them and their families
- Having one person responsible for co-ordinating how the Health Board meets it duties under the ALN Act. This person is the Designated Education Clinical Lead Officer, or DECLO. The DECLO for Swansea Bay University Health Board is Dr Luke Jones.
The ALN Act: A Journey of Transformation, and Learning from your Experience
As a Health Board, we are on a journey of transformation. Together with our Education partners, we want to implement the ALN Act in a way that makes a real difference to the lives of children and young people with additional learning needs and their families. Learning from your experience can help us to improve and to realise our shared vision – one child, one approach, one life.
We are currently working on an effective mechanism by which to seek parent carer feedback throughout the school year 2023/2024. Updates will be provided at this page.
Links to other services
Go here to the webpage for children's speech and language therapy services in Swansea Bay
Go here for the webpage for children's occupational therapy services in Swansea Bay
Go here for the webpage for children's physiotherapy services in Swansea Bay