How is additional support provided?
A new system for supporting children and young people with additional learning needs in Wales is being implemented from 1st September 2021. In time, all current support plans (including Statements, IEPs and LSPs) will be replaced with a new plan.
Find out more about the changes in Wales on our page Additional learning needs (ALN) in Wales. We will update the website with more information on the new system in Wales shortly, in the meantime see Written Statement: Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act 2018 Implementation.
Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective support in place. This should involve the creation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which describes the support needed, sets targets for achievement, and outlines how the plan will be monitored and reviewed. This approach is known as School Action.
School Action Plus is when the teacher and special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) feel that the child isn’t making enough progress under School Action and decide to bring in outside support, for example an educational psychologist or speech and language therapist.
The majority of deaf children with SEN will be supported through this approach. If the school can’t provide enough support themselves you (or the school) can ask for a statutory assessment to see if a statement of SEN is needed.
A statutory assessment is a detailed assessment carried out by the local authority (LA) involving a number of specialist professionals, including an educational psychologist and the school or nursery, to find out what your child’s SEN are and what help they need.
Following a statutory assessment, if the LA agrees that a statement is needed, a statement of SEN will be created. This is a legal document which sets out what your child’s needs are, what support they should receive, and where they should go to school.
Statutory assessments and statements of SEN are usually only needed if your child’s nursery or school can’t provide all of the support your child needs from their own resources or if it’s unlikely they will be able to. For example, the school may have tried different strategies to meet your child’s needs but they still aren’t making enough progress.
You’ll be invited by your child's school to attend a review meeting every 12 months, to monitor your child’s progress and make sure that their statement of SEN is still providing the right support.
The annual review process should involve the school:
- collecting written evidence (which must be sent to everyone involved in the review at least two weeks before the review meeting)
- holding a review meeting
- producing a report
- the LA reviewing the statement.
If you think it’s important that a particular person is at the review meeting, you can ask the head teacher to invite them. Children are also encouraged to go to all or part of the meeting. The Code of Practice says that the child involved should be asked to “give their views on their progress during the previous year; discuss any difficulties encountered; share their hopes and aspirations for the future”.
You can bring a friend, relative or adviser to the review meeting. Some parents find it useful to have someone to take notes, as they may be too busy taking part in the discussion.
Before the meeting, it’s a good idea to make notes about any points you want to raise, any questions you have, and anything that concerns you about your child's education.
If you think you need more time to prepare for the meeting, let the head teacher know as soon as possible. There is no duty on either the school or the LA to change the date of the meeting to accommodate parents, only to make sure that you’re invited.
In Year 9 the review meeting is used to draw up a ‘transition plan’ detailing what will happen when your child leaves school at age 16.