Additional Learning Needs
As a school, we are committed to ensuring that all learners receive the correct support and guidance they require to reach their potential and gain the skills needed to be active participants in their own education and learning.
We offer an extensive variety of interventions with some pupils having access to the support and guidance of our Nurture staff. Many pupils are supported in the classroom by members of our learning support team while others receive specific sessions with key members of staff. Further support is offered within the departments and in key curriculum areas.
We practise a pupil centred approach, and we take pride in the fact that there is a high level of communication between the school, parents, and the learners to ensure the best possible level of support.
The department also works closely with external agencies. We have established strong links with our feeder primary schools from the Gwendraeth Valley and others within our catchment area. By working closely with our primary schools, we can organise the correct provision before the beginning of Year 7.
The voice of the learner is at the heart of the process of making the appropriate decisions for the learner. We strive to support every pupil to achieve their potential academically, emotionally, and socially. Our aim is to support our pupils to become as independent as possible.
Our pupils are supported by an extensive network of external professionals, alongside our staff who offer specialist advice and support. The support is determined by the needs of the individual.
How are things changing?
The way that children and young people in Wales are supported is changing.
A short video can be found here.
The change will happen over 3 years in a phased approach. This means that both the old and the new system will run alongside each other from September 2021 to 2024.
What does this mean?
- Any changes to the level of support that they receive will take place as part of a review process and not because of the ALN Reform.
- A new name - the terms “Special Educational Needs” (SEN) and “Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities” (LDD) will be replaced with the new term “Additional Learning Needs” (ALN).
- Wider age range - the system will support children and young people with ALN from the ages of 0 to 25 in Wales, whilst they are in further education (not higher education) or training.
- One single plan - Individual Development Plans (IDP) will replace Educational Statements, Learning and Skills Plans and Individual Education Plans.
- Pupil voice - the learners’ needs, views, wishes and feelings will be at the heart of the process. It will be with the pupil rather than for the pupil.
- More working together - there will be closer working partnerships between parents/carers and all agencies working with the child/young person.
- Welsh language support - if a child or young person needs their additional learning needs provision in Welsh, this must be written in the IDP and ‘all reasonable steps’ must be taken to secure the provision in Welsh.
- Right to Tribunal - all children, their parents/carers, and young people up to the age of 25 will have the right to appeal to the Education Tribunal against decisions made in relation to their ALN or their IDP. Children and young people must be provided with access to independent advocacy services.
There are two key documents:
- The Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act – passed in January 2018
- Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act | GOV.WALES
- The ALN Code for Wales 2021 – issued April 2021
The Additional Learning Needs Code | GOV.WALES
What will be the new system? – Key terms
Every pupil will have a One Page Profile. They will include information about what we like and admire about the pupil, what’s important to the pupil and what’s important for the pupil. This is not a statutory document.
This is a legal document that will contain information about the child/young person, an outline of their additional learning needs and will clearly set out what support they will receive to help them.
Pupil Centred Planning
Pupil centred planning and pupil centred reviews places the pupil at the heart of the process ac asks for their views and feelings along with the views of parents, teachers, friends, and any other professional who works with and supports the young person.
Person centred planning is a collection of strategies that are used to support the planning process. It includes what is currently in place and suggested steps for improvement and development.
Through using this approach specific outcomes can be identified. The review will also be carried out using a person centred approach and will concentrate on the following points:
- what people like and admire about the pupil;
- pupil’s and family’s aspirations;
- understanding what’s important to the pupil;
- what’s important for the pupil to be able to progress;
- describe what good support looks like;
- analyse what’s working and what’s not working from the viewpoint of others;
- create an action plan based on the pupil centred outcomes;
- a chance to ask questions.
The child or young person is central to the IDP. The school will arrange meetings where people can share thoughts and ideas about the best ways to support the pupil / young person. The designated person will have the responsibility of ensuring that the plan is working and is kept up to date.
It is the responsibility of all teachers and staff within the school to make learning and the environment as accessible as possible. Every member of the school will have their own One Page Profile which outlines three key areas:
- what people like and admire
- what is important to the person
- what is important for the person (how best to support them)
Teachers will be able to use this information to help inform them in their lesson planning and assessments.
Universal provision is the name given to all forms of support that are available to all pupils, whether they have an ALN or not.
Maes y Gwendraeth’s universal provision is listed below:
Always speak to the school’s Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator, Mrs Tracey Jenkins as soon as you have any worries or concerns about your child’s ALN.
Targeted Provision is the support received by pupils with and identified ALN and where the ALP is listed on their IDP.
Specialist Provision is in place for those learners with severe and complex ALN. There is usually a high level of multi-agency involvement to support to IDP.
Children and young people learn at different rates, and everyone has their own strengths and areas of difficulty with learning. Many pupils will find that their learning needs can be met through the range of strategies that occur naturally as part of the high-quality teaching. In addition to this, the school has universal provision, for example, literacy or numeracy support sessions, which are available to pupils whether they have an ALN or not.
This would mean that a learner with a low reading age may not necessarily have ALN.
However, some children and young people may continue to have difficulties with their learning and may require something different to or in addition to that which occurs within the classroom.
A child/young person has ALN if they are having significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age and they require additional learning provision (ALP) that is not available to others.
A child/young person also has ALN if they have a disability that hinders them from accessing the facilities for learning that is generally available.
Barriers to learning may include, but are not limited to the following areas:
- Specific Learning
Teachers regularly assess and review pupils’ progress. If a member of staff has any concerns about a child/young person’s ability to learn, they communicate this to the Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCO) who will contact and liaise with the family.
The teacher will be using a range of strategies in class which may include amongst others:
- giving extra time
- differentiating the work
- using a word processor to record answers
- using writing frames to structure the work
- peer/group work
If, through the use of these strategies, there is still some concern about the level of progress being made, the learner may complete some school-based assessments in terms of reading and spelling, or it might be necessary for the school to seek advice from external agencies and referrals made the County advisors.
Other useful links: