ADDITIONAL LEARNING NEEDS
Your child may already have been identified as having special educational needs (SEN). They may be receiving extra support in school, to help them in their learning, or they may have a statement of special educational need. The approach to supporting children who have difficulties with learning is changing.
The Welsh Government has passed new legislation, called the Additional Learning Needs (Wales) Act, and Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code, which will replace all of the legislation and guidance about special educational needs.
As part of the Additional Learning Needs Educational Tribunal (ALNET) (Wales) Act 2018 the Welsh Government has replaced the term ‘special educational needs’ (SEN) with ‘additional learning needs’ (ALN).
However, the definition of ALN is different and you may find that your child currently has SEN but will not have ALN. This should not affect the support and help they receive in school to access learning.
ALN will cover those who:
have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age
have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream maintained school or Further Education Institution.
The Act introduces a clear duty on local authorities to support you as parent/carers and your child to contribute to the planning for additional learning needs.
The Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW ) can help. Sounds serious? Don’t worry! SENTW is a group of people who meet to decide what support you should be getting to help you learn.
It’s a place for you to have your say if you feel things are unfair.
Can someone come with me? - You'll have a case friend who will prepare you for the meeting, and you can take someone with you for support on the day.
1. Speak to your child’s teacher - If you think that your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN) talk to your child’s teacher or ALN Coordinator (ALNCo). For further details and information, please watch the video guide.
2. Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) together - If the school agrees with you that your child has ALN, the school will work with you and your child to create an IDP.
3. Discuss any concerns with the school or local authority - If the school does not agree that your child has ALN, or you are dissatisfied with your child’s IDP, discuss it with the school or local authority.
4. You can have access to an advocate - If the local authority agrees with the school but you are still unhappy, they can point you to independent advocacy services.
5. You have a right to appeal - All children and young people and their parents or carers have the right to appeal against decisions to the Education Tribunal of Wales (ETW).