Additional Learning Needs
We are determined to deliver a fully inclusive education system for learners in Wales, a system where needs are identified early and addressed quickly, and where all learners are supported to reach their potential.
The ALN Reform (Commenced September 2021)
Wales has developed the additional learning needs (ALN) transformation programme, which transforms the separate systems for special educational needs (SEN) in schools and learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) in further education, to create a unified system for supporting learners from 0 to 25 with ALN. The transformed system will:
• ensure that all learners with ALN are supported to overcome barriers to learning and achieve their full potential
• improve the planning and delivery of support for learners from 0 to 25 with ALN, placing learners’ needs, views, wishes and feelings at the heart of the process
• focus on the importance of identifying needs early and putting in place timely and effective interventions which are monitored and adapted to ensure they deliver the desired outcomes.
The ALN Act provides several rights for children, their parents and young people to have certain decisions reconsidered. A child, their parent or a young person who is unhappy with a decision made by a local authority nursery, local authority school or PRU can ask the local authority to reconsider the decision.
Children, their parents or young people can ask the local authority to reconsider the following decisions and plans:
- a school decision whether a child or young person has ALN or not
- a school IDP with a view to revising it
- a school’s decision to cease to maintain (to end) an IDP
- a child, their parent or a young person can request that the local authority ‘take over’ responsibility for maintaining an IDP
For further information regarding the ALN implementation time scales - WG34126_Transformation Booklet (gov.wales)
What is ALN?
Additional learning needs” or “ALN” has the meaning given by section 2 of the ALN Act, namely:
(1) A person has additional learning needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability (whether the learning difficulty or disability arises from a medical condition or otherwise) which calls for additional learning provision.
(2) A child of compulsory school age or person over that age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- has a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities for education or training of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream maintained schools or mainstream institutions in the further education sector.
(3) A child under compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she is, or would be if no additional learning provision were made, likely to be within subsection (2) when of compulsory school age.
(4) A person does not have a learning difficulty or disability solely because the language (or form of language) in which he or she is or will be taught is different from a language (or form of language) which is or has been used at home.
Children and young people with ALN need extra support to learn. This would be because they:
- find it harder to learn than other children of the same age
- have a disability that means they cannot use, or find it difficult to use, facilities for learning in the local nursery, school, PRU or college
Some children and young people who need extra help in nursery, school, pupil referral unit (PRU) or college do not have an ALN. This may be children or young people who just need some help catching up.
What is ALP?
The extra support given to children with ALN to help them learn is called ALP (Additional Learning Provision) . This must be written into a support plan called an IDP (Individual Development Plan).
Additional learning provision for a person aged 3 or over is education or training usually in a nursery, school, PRU or college that is additional to, or different from, what is made available to most children of the same age. This means that ALP is support that is made available usually in nursery, schools, PRUs or colleges but most children or young people of the same age do not need to use this support to make progress.
ALP can be delivered by teachers, teaching assistants or tutors. It can also be delivered by specialist services like a speech and language therapist or teachers of the deaf.
What is an IDP?
An effective IDP (Individual Development Plan) places the child at the centre and is:
- responsive and flexible
- demands changes in professional practice and approach
- facilitates professionals to work together, communicate more effectively, and encourages them to contribute to the assessment and planning processes
- increases ‘ownership’ of an IDP by the child/young person, their parents/ carers and professionals
- ensures engagement of the child/young person, their parents/carers and professionals in the process
- everyone involved has a valued input and is equally valued.
Every IDP includes an action plan, which is regularly reviewed by all those contributing to it, accompanied by a robust quality assurance system which includes monitoring and evaluation:
- of the provision for additional needs
- of outcomes for children and young people with additional needs
- of the experiences of children and young people, their parents and carers and those working with them.
The development of the IDP involves the child/young person, their parents/carers and all concerned professionals in a collaborative process.
In the vast majority of cases the outcome should be a consensus on how to meet the needs of the child/young person in question.
If you have any concerns regarding your child's progress in school, please contact the school ALNCo, Samantha Hyde.