The reforms to the education system are designed to meet the needs of all learners.
Curriculum for Wales offers teachers more flexibility to teach in a way that best meets the individual needs of each child, breaking down barriers to provide excellent education opportunities and outcomes for all learners.
Some children and young people may need additional support or provision to help them achieve their full potential.
What is changing?
The way we support children and young people that need extra help to learn is changing.
We are changing the separate systems for special educational needs (SEN) in schools and settings, and learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) in further education to create a single system.
A new unified system is being introduced, designed to support children and young people aged 0 to 25 with ALN in Wales. It introduces the new term - additional learning need (ALN).
Read the Additional learning needs (ALN) system: guide for parents and families on GOV.WALES.
What are additional learning needs (ALN) and additional learning provision (ALP)?
Children and young people with ALN need extra support to learn. This can be because they:
- find it harder to learn than other children of the same age
- have a disability that means they cannot use facilities for learning in the local nursery, school or college, or find it difficult to use them.
The extra support given to children with ALN to help them learn is called additional learning provision (ALP).
This must be written into a support plan called an individual development plan (IDP).
All schools and other education settings have an Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo),and have received training and additional funding to help put in place the new system.
The views of children and families are very important
This involves you as the parent/carer being part of making decisions and being involved in your child’s education and support.
What the child or young person thinks, feels, and wants must be part of their Individual Development Plan.
This way, everyone will understand your child’s needs in order to make decisions on the support required.
It’s important for you, your child and school or setting to talk. Talking can help make sure any concerns or differences of opinion are addressed.
Moving learners from the SEN to ALN system
Some learners may have received support under the SEN System.
Further information on how and when children will move to the ALN system from the SEN system is available in the Additional learning needs (ALN) system: guide for parents and families on GOV.WALES.
Implementing the ALN system for young people will involve a ‘flow-through’ approach into further education. Further information about what a ‘flow-through approach means is available in the Additional learning needs (ALN) system: young people’s guide on GOV.WALES.
Identifying and supporting learner progress
You should be regularly informed of your child's progress across the curriculum.
When education settings identify learners making less progress than expected, they use a range of different or targeted approaches to support learning.
Most children and young people will need extra help to progress in an aspect of their learning at some point at nursery, at school, or at college - that extra help to progress doesn’t mean they have an ALN.
However, if your child continues to make less progress than expected, some additional or different action may be needed to support them.
At this point your child may be identified as having an ALN, that calls for additional learning provision (ALP).
Information, advice and support
For more guidance and information on how your child can be supported, speak to your child’s class teacher, the school Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo) and/or head teacher.
If you require further advice and support, then contact your Local Authority. All local authorities must provide impartial information and advice about ALN and the ALN system free of charge.
Schools publish information on ALN on their websites for pupils and parents.
SNAP Cymru can provide information, impartial advice and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, additional learning needs.
To support parents and families to understand their rights under the ALN system, an overview guide and an easy read version are available on GOV.WALES.
If you are still unhappy, then you should talk to your local authority to seek further advice.
All local authorities provide arrangements for avoiding and resolving ALN disputes. Find out more in the Additional learning needs (ALN) system: parents’ rights guidance on GOV.WALES.
You can appeal to the Education Tribunal if you’re unhappy with a decision regarding Additional Learning Needs (ALN) decisions made by Local Authorities and Further Education Colleges in Wales.
Resolving disagreements and independent advocacy in health
The ALN Code encourages open communication and involving the support of health professionals when needed so that parents/ carers, children and young people receive an early resolution to any concerns or disagreements they may have.
To address issues related to NHS funded care and treatment effectively, families should use the NHS Wales Putting Things Right process.
Free, independent complaints, advocacy and support services related to health and social services are also available through Llais.
Guiding families to these resources will help health boards identify where they need to target service improvements for the benefit of children and young people with ALN.
Positive transitions to post 16 education
Support is available to help young people with ALN to make a successful transition from school to further education, make informed choices and plan their next steps.