Additional Learning Needs (ALN)
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.
Update from Welsh Assembly Government on July 14th 2021:
The implementation of the ALN system for the first year will be sequenced. This means, for those children who are or are newly identified as having additional learning needs, (that is, those without already identified special educational needs (SEN), or are not awaiting or undergoing an SEN assessment), will still move to the new ALN system from 1 September 2021. However, for those children who attend a maintained school (including a PRU) and who have already identified SEN via school action or school action plus, the new system will apply from 1 January 2022, instead of 1 September 2021.
Resources for Parent/Carers and those supporting children with ALN
A booklet is available to you in order to explain the new legislation, and how this will change the way that we will work with you to identify and support your child’s needs.
1. Speak to your child’s teacher - If you think that your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN) talk to your child’s teacher first or our ALN Coordinator (ALNCo) who is Mrs Sully. For further details and information, please watch the video guide.
2. Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) together - If we agree with you that your child has ALN, we will work with you and your child to create an IDP.
3. Discuss any concerns with the us or local authority - If we do not agree that your child has ALN, or you are dissatisfied with your child’s IDP, discuss it with the us or the local authority.
4. You can have access to an advocate - If the local authority agrees with us 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).
Resources for children
Struggling in school?
If you find it harder to learn something, we can give you extra help.
Not happy with the support you are getting?
The Special Education 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 is 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.
These documents show the IDP process.
ALN and Dispute Resolution
In the Vale of Glamorgan we are always keen to try to address any concerns, worries or issues as soon as possible, and this should be done by raising any issues with us, as a school, in the first instance. As far back as the draft ALN Code (2017) principles for good practice in the avoidance and early resolution of disagreements around Additional Learning Needs. (WG, 2017. pp. 169) were identified.
These good practice principles are:
Support to ensure parents can attend and contribute to meetings
Ensure communication is inclusive and sensitive so parents feel like equal partners open questioning in meetings so concerns and misunderstandings are dealt with early on
Face to face meetings to plan the way forward
All parties have the same information from the same trusted source
Timely and consistent communication so trust is built
Positive, open and constructive dialogue
Explanation of the legislation underpinning decisions and signposting to further information
Decisions are properly explained in inclusive language to parent and child / Young Person
Supporting the examination of the IDP so decisions are transparent and all evidence has been considered
We have staff trained in dispute resolution strategies to support this process.
A short film produced by the Welsh Government providing an overview of the avoiding disagreement and early dispute resolution aspect of the ALN Bill now Act can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzPllzbheI8 or click the link below.
Following these strategies should help parents and school work together in a mutually supportive and honest partnership, with the child at the centre to disuses and resolve any issues.
Parents can seek further advice from www.snapcymru.org
SNAP Cymru provides information, advice and support for parents, children and young people who have, or may have, Additional Learning Needs or disabilities
SNAP Cymru provide the following impartial, confidential and free services:
Helpline Information, Advice and Support
Discrimination Advice and Casework
Independent Specialist ALN Advocacy
Children, young people or parents can contact SNAP Cymru on:
To request a dispute resolution service
More information can be found on the ALN section of the Vale of Glamorgan's website at: