Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion Strategy:
Gwynedd and Anglesey
Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey Council are now collaborating to create an overall ALN and Inclusion Strategy for both LEA’s. This was approved by Gwynedd Council Cabinet and Isle of Anglesey Working Committee in September 2016.
The need for a Strategy emerged in looking at the experiences of children and young people with additional learning needs in both counties. It became apparent that several things needed to be improved such as:
- Ensure greater consistency (fairness)
- The current system is too complicated
- Monitoring service standard
- Relationship with other services
- Communicating / sharing information
In addition, the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Bill (Wales) was passed on 12 December 2017 and became an Act on 24 January 2018. This Act will transform the legal framework and will do away with the inconsistencies and deficiencies in the current system.
The Lifelong Learning Minister, Alun Davies, declared in a statement (4 July 2016) that:
“The current legal framework to assist children and young people with special educational needs is based on a model introduced over 30 years ago. It is patently not now fit for purpose.
“Our hope in this bill is that it will transform the expectations, experiences and outcomes of children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales.”
Further details regarding the new ALN Act
The aim of our new Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion Strategy is:
‘To ensure that children and young people (aged between 0 and 25) who have additional learning needs take advantage of opportunities and gain experiences that are planned effectively for them, in order to allow them to make progress according to their ability.’
Access arrangements to the ALN&I Service
All schools have the responsibility to create a caring and supportive environment, for every pupil, where possible, to develop happily and confidently.
Whole School Action
Providing for children who have additional learning needs is a priority for the whole community of each school in Gwynedd and Anglesey. Addressing the additional learning needs of pupils is not the responsibility of the co-ordinator, teaching assistants and senior management team alone; rather the full community of the school plans and provides suitably for them.
Before looking for additional assistance, each school should attempt various strategies which are clearly highlighted within the Criteria. It is only after following these steps that the school can receive additional support from outside.
The new Service is based on a skilled Integrated Team which includes specific teams of expertise according to condition/disorder and location. These teams advise and support schools and ensure consistency in the provision of appropriate intervention and support to individuals.
1. What are Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion?
In referring to Additional Learning Needs we consider pupils who have needs in a part or parts of their development, which creates a barrier to access to the curriculum, which cannot be fulfilled by the normal and expected differentiation (adjustments) occurring in an educational setting.
Services refer to needs in different areas of development and give a brief description of what is meant in each of these areas.
2. What should I do if I think my child has additional learning needs?
If you think your child has additional learning needs contact your child's school and speak to either the class teacher, the Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo) or the Headteacher.
You can ask how the school supports children with additional learning needs and this information will also be available in the school's ALN Policy.
3. Early Warning System –– pre school age children
Early and graduated intervention is essential to reduce pupils’ difficulties later on in their school career. The ALN&I Service has a close relationship with community and education workers in the early years sector
A referral system is in place whereby community health workers (e.g. Paediatrician, Health Visitor, Speech and Language Therapist) and early years educational providers (e.g. Cylchoedd Meithrin) can refer young children to the Early Years Forum.
What are the Early Years Assessment Centres (ABC)?
4. Using Person-centred Methods to create Individual Development Plans
It is extremely important that we find out what is important for pupils. This will be done through speaking with the child/young person and their family, and agree on the best approach to prioritize and provide support.
Through holding Reviews using Person-centred methods, we place the child or young person at the centre, looking at what is working and what is not working, and what is important to them. All the information that is gathered will be used alongside the Criteria to create a truly individual and effective action plan, part of an Individual Development Plan (IDP). This method of understanding a pupil’s needs applies to all children/young people, not only those with ALN.
5. What if my child's needs are greater than that for which for the school can provide?
ALN and Inclusion Forums, and Cross-County Panel (Moderation)
The work of the Specialist Teams is organised through ALN and Inclusion Area Forums as a starting point. Any school can request input into the Forum in accordance with the Criteria by using the child’s Individual Development Plan. The ALN and Inclusion Area Forums meet every half term.
In the case of children with acute and complex needs, a discussion about those needs is initiated through a County Moderation Panel. The Forums and the Panel act in accordance with the Service’s access and leaving Criteria.
A key part of the Forums and Panels’ role is to receive information about the way schools use the specialist Services they receive, and whether they implement the recommendations offered at classroom level.
6. Special Schools
Co-ordinating the Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion Service
What is the Whole School Expected to do?
Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion is a responsibility in all aspects and functions within the school.
1. ALN and Inclusion Liaison Governor
The role of the ALN and Inclusion Liaison Governor is very important in supporting the Headteacher and staff to develop a learning environment which promotes the progress of children with ALN and Inclusion.
2. Headteacher (ALN&I Liaison Person in each school)
The leadership of the school Headteacher (or member of the Senior Management Team) in the area of ALN and Inclusion is essential to cascade attitudes, ownership and communication regarding ALN and Inclusion to the rest of the school staff.
3. ALN and Inclusion School Co-ordinator
The ALN and Inclusion School Co-ordinator is a key role within the school, with strategic input. They are accountable to the school’s Governing Body and Headteacher, and receive further guidance from the Area ALN and Inclusion Quality Service. This individual has general responsibility for the school.
4. Class/Subject Teachers
Every teacher acknowledges that the responsibility for responding to ALN and Inclusion is their responsibility. They are also key in identifying new cases of ALN and Inclusion.
5. Teaching Assistants and Coaches
The work of assistants enriches the provision available across the school. Each learning assistant and coach, within each school, has a responsibility to fulfil the ALN and Inclusion needs of pupils.
6. Communication with Homes / Parents’ Partnership
Working with homes and ensuring parental co-operation is essential for a successful relationship with any pupil. Every school in Gwynedd and Anglesey should be open to discussion at all times and should encourage parents to contact should there be any cause for concern.
Parents’ input should be an integral part of monitoring and reviewing the progress of each pupil with ALN and Inclusion so as to ensure a complete picture of the pupil. One way of ensuring this is by obtaining the input of parents and families into the One Page Profile, the Individual Development Plan (IDP) and to be part of the Review of the ALN and Inclusion needs of the child/young person – however acute their needs.
7. What are the Quality Officers expected to do?
8. What is the Educational Psychology Service expected to do?