Your child or young person may have different types of observations, assessments to help inform the support they need to reach their individual learning, social and emotional potential. There is also guidance and laws from Welsh Government in the form of legislation for schools and Local Authorities. This section gives more information on these.
All children are regularly assessed. However, children with Additional Learning Needsrequire closer monitoring and regular reviews to ensure that they are progressing according to their age, ability and aptitude. The annual review is an opportunity to discuss both the progress your child has made and whether any changes need to be made to the statement. Your views (and those of your child) are an important part of the review. The timing of annual reviews should reflect the circumstances of your child, such as changing schools.
The Graduated Response
The current Special Educational Needs’ Code of Practice for Wales gives guidance onthe additional or different action that should be taken to meet the needs of pupils. It says that for most pupils, extra help will be provided in the classroom managed by theclass or subject teacher.
This could be achieved by working with the rest of the class in small groups or on a one-to-one basis with a teacher or teaching assistant for short periods.
Different actions may need to be taken for pupils at Early Years/School Action, Early Years/School Action plus or those with Statements of SEN – this is called the Graduated Response. There are 3 levels in the Graduated Response.
When a class teacher or the ALNCo identifies a child with ALN the class teacher should provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies . The basis for intervention through School Action could be the teacher’s or others’ concern, underpinned by evidence, about a child who despite receiving differentiated learning opportunities:
- makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are targeted particularly in a child’s identified area of weakness
- shows signs of difficulty in developing literacy or mathematics skills which result in poor attainment in some curriculum areas
- presents persistent emotional or behavioural difficulties which are not ameliorated by the behaviour management techniques usually employed in the school
- has sensory or physical problems, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of specialist equipment
- has communication and/or interaction difficulties, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of a differentiated curriculum.
The school has a duty to inform the child’s parents that special educational provision is being made for the child because the child has ALN
The class teacher should draw up an Individual Development (Education) Plan- ID(E)P for the pupil and will discuss the plan with the parent. This plan is an actionplan that sets out:
- The child’s difficulties;
- Short term targets for them to achieve;
- Details of who will work with the child and what materials might beneeded;
- When the ID(E)P will be reviewed.
You may be given some tasks to do at home with your son or daughter as part of the ID(E)P.
If your child is at the School Action Plus stage of the Additional Learning Needsprocess, then as well as the actions at School Action, your child is accessing support from outside agencies alongside the school.
Each Local Authority has professionals from different ‘specialisms’ and they work as multi-agency teams with the schools. These could be (depending on the child’sneeds):
- An Educational Psychologist;
- A Behaviour Support Teacher;
- Α Specialist Advisory Teacher;
- Other health professionals
The different professionals meet regularly with the ALNCos at their schools. They will work closely with the school staff to provide advice to the school on how towork with individual pupils; they may provide an additional specialist assessmentor they may work directly with the child. They will suggest new targets for the child or young persons ID(E)P.
The Additional Learning Needs of the great majority of children will be met effectively within mainstream settings through Early Years Action and Early Years Action Plus or School Action and School Action Plus, without the local education authority needing to make a statutory assessment. In a very small number of cases the Local Authority will need to make a statutory assessment of special educational needs, and then consider whether or not to issue a statement.
There are clear time frames set out for the stages of Statutory Assessment, the total length of the process should be no longer than 26 weeks. There is also a clear process of appeal for parent/ carers.
Person Centred Planning- PCP is a way of working together and communicating positively with each other, always with the child or young person at the centre of the process. The views, wishes and feelings of the child young person will be at the heart of decision making.
PCP involves using a variety of different ‘tools’ or methods to develop the child or young person’s ID(E)P. There are many different approaches to PCP but they all centre on the child or young person’s views, wishes and feelings, their aspirations and hopes for the future.
Reviews and Meetings
Meetings and reviews should be positively focused to explore a better and more positive future for the child or young person. The meeting should also produce a clear action plan.
The positive approach for meetings and reviews should focus less on what’s wrong, and more on what we would like to happen.
There might be a change in the type of questions you are asked to consider, and the type of information that you are asked to share.
If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) the Local Authority must review that statement every year. This means that a review of the progress the child or young person is making towards the objectives in the Statement must take place at least every 12 months. Statements can be reviewed more frequently where needed.
For pupils in mainstream schools the annual reviews in Year 5 are the key oneswhere there should be a discussion about what type of school they should attendfor the next phase.
If a place at a special school or a resource unit attached to a mainstream school is recommended, the pupil’s papers will have to go to a panel for consideration. This will also apply to the review in Year 10 if a place at a special school forpost–16 provision is to be requested.
If a specialist place is agreed, the pupil’s statement must be amended by 15thFebruary so that they can move to their new school the following September.
Before the Annual Review
Two weeks before the start of the school term, the Local Authority must inform the headteacher, in writing, of the pupils whose statements must be reviewedthat term.
The headteacher will invite you and any relevant professionals to the review meeting. The head will then request written advice about your child’s progressand the appropriateness of the statement from you and any professionals the Local Authority and/or headteacher thinks are appropriate.
At least two weeks before the review meeting, the headteacher will circulate any written evidence and invite comments. Your views are very important. When providing your written advice and reading the advice from others involved in the annual review, you may want to think about the topics you covered when youoriginally provided parental advice for your child’s statutory assessment andchecked your child’s proposed statement.
The Review Meeting
Often the review meeting will only involve you, teachers from your child’s school and perhaps someone from the Local Authority. Other professionals do not usually attend a routine annual review meeting, but will attend to discuss specificneeds, or if the annual review meeting is to discuss your child’s transition. Youcan take a friend, relative or someone from the parent partnership service to thereview meeting to support you.
The review meeting should consider if your child’s statement is still appropriate, ifthere any amendments to be made to the statement and if the local authority should continue to maintain the statement.
The meeting should look at the progress made in relation to the previous targetsand provide a new set of targets for your child for the coming year. These shouldmeet the objectives set out in the statement.
After the Review Meeting
No later than ten days after the review meeting, the headteacher must prepare and submit a report to the Local Authority.
The report will summarise the meetings conclusions andinclude recommendations, with reasons, as to whether the statement should beamended or maintained. The headteacher will also send a copy of the report toyou and any professionals involved with the review process.
The Local Authority will decide whether to make any changes to your child’s statement.
They can decide to:
- Amend (change) the statement
- Leave the statement unchanged
- Cease to maintain (or end) the statement.
You may invite your Parent Partnership Representative to go with you, or anyone else who you choose. Your child may also attend all or part of the review meeting as appropriate. The older they are, the more likely they will be involved.
Before the school meeting/review – be prepared!
Do I know:
- Where the meeting is? (Route, parking etc)
- The time? (When? How long will it last?)
- Who will be there?
- Why it is happening?
- What I want to achieve?
- What outcomes might others want?
- How am I feeling – how might I behave?
- How are others feeling – how might they behave?
- Have I written down all the questions I want to ask?
- Have I got all the information and paperwork I need?
- Will someone be taking notes? (Possibly a partner or friend)
- Do I want someone to go with me? (A partner, friend etc)
- Have I got the views of my child or will my child be there?
After the Meeting:
- Have I understood everything that was said? (It may be helpful to confirm this by email or letter with the school).
- Am I happy with the way things have gone?
- Do I feel that agreements have been reached that we can all stick to?
- Does everyone know what they are doing next?
- What am I doing next?
- Is someone co–ordinating action?
- Will I get notes or minutes of the meeting?
- If it is an Annual Review meeting, will I see the Annual Review form before it is sent to the Local Authority?
- When are we going to review progress?
Parent Partnership Services provide support and advice to parents whose children have Additional Learning Needs. Information and advice is provided by a dedicated team who provide accurate and neutral information.