Additional Learning Needs

Additional Needs Learning Code

Additional learning needs: Local authority guidance for parents and carers

A person has additional learning needs (ALN) 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.

Changes to the system

The system for supporting children and young people who have special educational needs has now started to change.

Overview of the changes
  • Changes are taking place over three years
  • From September 2021,the term ‘additional learning needs’ (ALN) replaced the term ‘special educational needs’ (SEN), as well as the term ‘learning difficulties and disabilities’ (LDD)
  • An emphasis on high aspirations and improved outcomes for all children and young people who have ALN.
  • The ALN system will cover children and young people aged 0-25 who have needs that require additional learning provision

These guides explain how and when children, who were not included in the arrangements during the first year of implementation, will move to the ALN system:

Determining ALN at different stages
Early Years

If it is determined that a child who is not yet of compulsory school age has ALN, we (as the local authority) are responsible for securing additional learning provision (ALP) and writing their Individual Development Plan (IDP). We have an Early Years Additional Learning Needs Lead Officer who can be contacted for advice and support.

School age pupils

For children who are of compulsory school age, the class teacher or Additional Learning Needs Coordinator is the first point of contact. They will be able to listen to your concerns, and if requested, begin to consider if your child has ALN.

This decision will be made within 35 school days, unless the school requires further specialist assessment through us or health services. Where further specialist assessment is needed a further 12 weeks may be required.

An explanation of terms relating to ALN
Universal provision

For the majority of children and young people, their needs can be met through high quality teaching and learning. All education settings should put in place differentiated teaching or other targeted support to help pupils make progress, where appropriate. 

Universal provision is routinely available to all children and young people. It may be provided at a whole class, small group or individual level. It is monitored and tracked in line with school procedures and could be a short or longer term provision.

Additional learning provision (ALP)

A small number of children and young people will have ALN, which requires ALP. ALP is additional to or different from educational or training provision, which is generally available for all. 

If a child or young person does not appear to be making progress, then ALP may be required. This will involve the needs of the pupil being identified in a person-centred way and could lead to enhanced and alternative provision being provided to support the pupil in making progress. Children and young people who access ALP are classed as having ALN and will require an IDP.

Individual Development Plans (IDP)

IDPs replace statements of SEN and in some cases Individual Education Plans. These plans will be person-centred and may include multi-agencies, ensuring that the child or young person is at the centre of planning their provision.

The purpose of IDPs

Children and young people learn in different ways and their needs may change over time. An IDP provides an ongoing process of: 

  • identifying needs and providing different support as necessary
  • sharing information
  • planning, taking action and reviewing progress

Depending on your child’s individual progress the support they receive could be increased, reduced or changed over time. This means that earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised to help achieve a growing understanding of your child. It also supports them in making progress and helps them to realise their hopes and aspirations.

Phasing in IDPs

IDPs will be phased in, following the Welsh Government timetable, as existing statements and Individual Education Plans are reviewed. Plans will be reviewed at least annually and will be created with the child or young person and their parents/carers or advocate. They can also be reviewed should information or needs change at the request of the child, young person or parent/carer.
These IDPs are designed to outline the ALN of a child or young person, their aspirations and targets to achieve these. Any child or young person who receives ALP requires an IDP . 

Decisions you can ask to be reconsidered

Parents and young people can request to have certain decisions they disagree with reconsidered:

  1. to reconsider whether a child has ALN or not
  2. to reconsider a school IDP with a view to revising it
  3. to decide whether we should take over responsibility for maintaining an IDP
  4. to reconsider a school’s decision to cease to maintain an IDP
Responsibilities for maintaining an IDP

The majority of IDPs will be written and maintained by schools. However, in some more complex cases schools may request that we consider the needs of the child or young person. If these needs are found to be complex and require specialist input, we may write and then either direct the school to maintain the plan or maintain it themselves.

Children who are not of compulsory school age and do not attend a local authority-maintained school, who have ALN and require an IDP will have this written and maintained by us (through our Early Years Additional Learning Needs Lead Officer). 

In cases of post-16 ALN, the post-16 provider will write and maintain the IDP in the majority of cases, referring to us only in cases of complex or multiple ALN. This would only happen when it would not be reasonable for the post-16 provider to secure the provision. 

We are responsible for writing and maintaining IDPs for those home-educated pupils, looked after children (LAC), and dual-registered pupils who are identified as having ALN.

Person-centred approaches

Person-centred approaches are central to the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act and Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales. It puts the child or young person at the centre of identifying their needs, planning their provision and reviewing this.

The overarching ethos to person-centred practice means making sure that children and young people are involved in:

  • identifying what is important to and for them
  • planning their provision and outlining their hopes and aspirations
  • explaining how they wish to realise their hopes and aspirations

Reviews of IDPs should take place in a person-centred way and your child’s school can provide information or answer any questions you may have regarding this.

Please contact Mrs M Jones in school in you have any questions – [email protected] or contact the local authority:

Email: [email protected] 

Alternatively, write to:
Education Inclusion Service  Wrexham County Borough Council
Crown Buildings 
Chester Street
LL13 8BG

At Victoria CP School, we work together to support all pupils to help meet their needs and reach their full potential. As part of a graduated response, we implement support at a universal and targeted universal level and through additional learning needs provision. 

At Victoria CP School, we ensure the needs of all pupils are met through excellent teaching and learning provision.

Our Universal Provision includes:

  • Whole class teaching which is authentic, relevant and well sequenced
  • Well planned and effective differentiation – this includes high levels of challenge for more able learners
  • A variety of groupings based on pupil voice and teacher intuition
  • Individual and small group interventions (in and out of the classroom
  • A wide range of scaffolding resources
  • A variety of reasonable adjustments to enable access to the school environment, curriculum and facilities

If a pupil is not progressing whilst receiving universal provision, we will gather observations, use a range of assessment data and work in collaboration with outside agencies to identify any additional learning needs. A wide range of evidence will be gathered over time, including:

  • Consideration of the principles of progression code
  • Assessment tools, frameworks and questionnaires
  • Standardised and teacher assessments
  • Observational data and routine, day to day assessments
  • Monitoring progress over time

At this point, a pupil would have a Small Steps Target Sheet (SSTS) which would indicate their individual targets. Progress is then reviewed termly. Additional action may be taken, and advice and support may be sought from outside agencies such as the Educational Psychology Service, Speech and Language Therapy Service, Literacy Service, who might suggest specific strategies to support a pupil.

Where a pupil has not progressed as well as expected with the small steps target support provided as outlined above, the next stage of the graduated response would be that the school considers whether the pupil has Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and in turn requires Additional Learning Provision (ALP).

If it is determined that a pupil has Additional Learning Needs, an Individual Development Plan (IDP) would be developed in a person-centred manner through a Person Centred Review meeting. The IDP would then be reviewed at least annually to ensure they remain relevant and are used as working documents.