Many children and young people experience a challenge to learning at some point during their educational journey; most can be helped to overcome these challenges through good quality teaching, differentiation, and appropriate targeted interventions to scaffold learning. Sometimes, all it takes is understanding and a little extra help for a child to thrive in their learning journey without a formal diagnosis.

Embracing Every Child’s Unique Learning Journey

Understanding how a child learns is crucial, especially for those who think and learn a bit differently. A minority of children may have what we call an Additional Learning Need (ALN). If you think your child may have ALN, don’t hesitate to connect with the Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo) at their school. 

Making School Inclusive and Supportive

In schools, it’s the law and our commitment to support every all learners including those with Additional Learning Needs (ALN). We have a new law in Wales called the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 and an ALN Code, which gives details for children and young people who have the right to have the appropriate support in schools to meet their needs. For those learners with ALN that would be provision that is additional to and different from what is ordinarily available in a mainstream maintained school 

Importantly, your child doesn’t need a formal diagnosis to be identified with ALN or receive additional provision at school. We believe in tailoring education to each child’s needs, regardless of a diagnosis. Sometimes, all it takes is understanding and a little extra help for a child to thrive in their learning journey without a formal diagnosis. 

The Graduated Approach: Supporting Your Child Step by Step

We follow a thoughtful process called the Graduated Approach, designed to ensure your child receives the best support possible: 

  • Assessment of Strengths and Challenges  

We work with you and the ALNCo to understand your child’s unique strengths and challenges. 

  • Creating a Personalized Plan  

Together, we craft a plan that provides specific support to address your child’s needs. We set goals and milestones to track progress. 

  • Putting the Plan into Action  

We put the plan into action, offering the extra support outlined and monitoring how it’s helping your child progress. 

  • Regular Review and Adjustments  

We continuously review your child’s progress and adjust the plan as needed, involving you and your child in this process. 

If, despite our best efforts and the Graduated Approach, your child isn’t making the expected progress, we’re here to explore other options. This could mean seeking specialist assessment and support from external agencies.

You could talk to your school regarding whether your child has a learning difficult or disability which requires additional learning provision (ALP). If so, the school may agree that your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and will write an Individual Development Plan, which is a statutory plan reviewed at least every year.

Every school has a range of strategies, interventions and bespoke tailored programmes based on individual needs for learners who are experiencing some difficulty in learning. This could include:

  • High quality differentiated teaching
  • Targeted short-term interventions
  • Access to resources and specialist equipment and teams
  • Involvement of other services

For a small cohort of children and young people, their learning difficulty and disability may impact on their progress towards achieving the expected outcomes compared to their peers; this is despite consistent targeted interventions and careful tracking of progress.

It is at this stage that it may be necessary for a school or college to determine whether the learner has ALN and if so, develop an IDP with the learner, family and all professionals known to the child or young person.

If you’re worried about your child’s development, Education is always there to help. Here’s their approach: 

  • Talk to your child’s class teacher 
  • Connect with the ALNCo in School  

Share your concerns and let your ALNCo know what you’ve noticed. They will start monitoring and making reasonable adjustments. 

  • Reasonable Adjustments and Monitoring 

ALNCo make changes like providing special tools or adapting teaching methods to suit your child’s needs. Your ALNCo will also keep an eye on progress. 

  • Continued Support and Discussions 

If concerns persist, your ALNCo will keep adjusting and discussing with teachers to figure out if more help from other professionals is necessary. 

If despite your best efforts, concerns remain, it might be time to consider a referral for assessment. For conditions like autism and ADHD, ALNCo will need evidence from various sources, like home and school. They will work together with you to make the best decisions for your child’s well-being and development.