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Social Research

Research to establish a baseline of the Special Educational Needs system in Wales

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  • Release date: 28 February 2019
The purpose of the research was to establish a baseline of the current special educational needs (SEN) system in Wales prior to the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (the Act).

The research was focused on professionals. It included an e-survey of professionals on specific aspects of the current system and in-depth qualitative research was across four LAs. Each case study was based on interviews with practitioners working in schools, PRUs, FEIs, LAs and LHBs.

Key findings

  • Overall, there was general agreement that current processes and practices within the SEN system are effective. 
  • It was felt that some aspects of the system (e.g. timeliness of processes, availability of Welsh-language assessment tools) need addressing and some variation in quality exists. 
  • Most participants from schools and colleges agreed that assessment and review processes and the delivery of special educational provision (SEP) for learners are effective. 
  • Schools and other organisations are preparing for implementing changes related to the Act. Many participants described the forthcoming changes as cultural, including promoting the importance of gaining different perspectives on learning.
  • Some schools consider some of these changes to be potentially onerous with concerns about the time implications of some aspects of the reforms. 


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