The SEN Code of Practice for Wales

The SEN Code of Practice, issued in 1994 (and updated in 2000) provides guidance and practical adviceto Local Authorities, schools, early education settings and others on how to carry out their duties under the Education Act 1996. (SEN = Special Educational Needs; it’s another way of saying Additional LearningNeeds)

Not all children with additional learning needs will be the same, so the Code of Practice states that there is a Graduated Response to meet their needs.

All Local Authorities, schools, early education settings and those who help them (which includes health and social services), have a duty to “have regard to it”. This means that they cannot ignore the Code ofPractice. In other words, although schools, Local Authorities and others do not have to do everything exactly as suggested in the code, but they have to be able to justify why they feel it is better to do things differently.

The following fundamental principles underpin the guidance given in the code:

  • A child with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) should have his or her needs met;
  • The Additional Learning Needs of children will normally be met in mainstream schools or early education settings;
  • The views of the child should be sought and taken into account;
  • Parents have a vital role to play in support their child’s education;
  • Children with Additional Learning Needs should be offered full access to a broad, balancedand relevant education, including an appropriate curriculum for the foundation stage and the national curriculum.

The Code describes how help for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs in schoolsand early years settings should be made by a step-by-step or graduated response.

Different schools will take account of the Code of Practice in different ways. However, if your child hasAdditional Learning Needs, you should be consulted at each step.

The SEN Code of Practice can be viewed on the Welsh Government website:

Local Support in West Wales

Parent Partnership Services provide support and advice to parents whose children have Additional Learning Needs. Information and advice is provided by a dedicated team who provide accurate and neutral information.