Alert Section

Children & Young People with Additional Learning Needs


Policy Framework for Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The aim of this policy, and the practice which it informs, is to maximise the educational opportunities of all Flintshire's pupils who are identified as having special educational needs. This will be achieved by offering all children a relevant and worthwhile education, which is designed to enable them to be included, and participate fully in, the society to which they contribute and from which they benefit.

Policy Framework for Children & Young People with Additional Learning Needs (SEN)

 

Additional Learning Needs

The Welsh Government has introduced a new law, The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018.  The aim is to have a single system relating to support given to children and young people who have additional learning needs (ALN) and are receiving education and/or training.

This website will provide advice and information about ALN, the new ALN system and what these changes will mean for children, young people and their families.

The Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales 2021
The ALN Code was issued in 2021 to support the implementation of the new Act. It provides clear, statutory guidance about the ALN system for local authorities, school governing bodies, further education institutes (FEI) and health boards to follow.  The Code outlines the duties on these bodies when the possibility that a child or young person who may have ALN comes to their attention.

The Code sets out the duty on maintained schools and FEIs to designate an Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo) who is responsible for ensuring the needs of children with ALN are met.  This role is similar to the previous role of Special Educational Needs coordinator (SENCo). 

All health boards are required to have a Designated Education Clinical Lead Officer (DECLO).  They are responsible for coordinating the health board duties under the new system.

The definition of Additional Learning Needs (ALN):
(1) A person has additional learning needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability (whether the learning difficulty or disability arises from a medical condition or otherwise) which calls for additional learning provision (ALP). 

(2) A child of compulsory school age or person over that age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she: 
(a) has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or 
(b) has a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities for education or training of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream maintained schools or mainstream institutions in the further education sector. 

(3) A child under compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she is, or would be if no additional learning provision were made, likely to be within subsection (2) when of compulsory school age. 

The definition of Additional Learning Provision (ALP):
(1) “Additional learning provision” for a person aged three or over means educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for others of the same age in: 
(a) mainstream maintained schools in Wales, 
(b) mainstream institutions in the further education sector in Wales, or 
(c) places in Wales at which nursery education is provided. 
(2) “Additional learning provision” for a child aged under three means educational provision of any kind.

Consideration and deciding ALN
The greater majority of children and young people in Flintshire will have their educational needs and ALN identified, met and monitored within mainstream schools or local FEIs.  This will be through differentiation and access to appropriate strategies and targeted interventions within a universal offer of high quality education. 

If the possibility of ALN is brought to the attention of a school or FEI, they must consider and decide whether the child or young person does have ALN, which requires ALP.  Schools have 35 school days to decide and if ALN is agreed, prepare the Individual Development Plan (IDP).  In cases where Flintshire County Council is required to make the decision, there is a 12 week timeframe to decide and prepare an IDP where ALN is agreed.  Both of these timescales are subject to there being no exceptional circumstances which may result in a delay.

If you are concerned about your child’s progress and you think they may have ALN that requires ALP, talk to your child’s teacher or the ALN Coordinator (ALNCo) at your child’s school.  A child or young person can also make a request themselves.

Welsh Language
If a child or young person needs ALP through the medium of Welsh, the school, FEI or Flintshire County Council must take all reasonable steps to secure the provision.  Flintshire County Council is committed to securing the best outcomes for all children including those with ALN though our educational provision and will make all reasonable attempts to offer specialist services and intervention through the medium of Welsh.

Individual Development Plans – A unified plan
Information about a child or young person’s ALN and ALP is written into an Individual Development Plan (IDP).  This is a legal document which describes the individual’s needs and the provision that will be made to help them achieve the desired outcomes.

IDPs will replace a range of educational plans that are currently in place for children and young people who attend school or college.  These include Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Statements of Special Education and Learning & Skills Plans.   For children and young people who are looked after, the IDP will form part of the individual’s Personal Education Plan (PEP).

Most children and young people with ALN will have their IDPs prepared and maintained by the school or FEI.  The ALP required to meet the majority of individual needs will be met through the delegated budgets. 

There are some groups of children who will have their IDPs prepared and maintained by Flintshire County Council.  These include children with ALN who require ALP and are either ‘Looked After’, Electively Home Educated or registered in more than one setting. 

All IDPs will be reviewed at a person-centred review, at least annually.  A request to hold a review earlier can be made by any relevant person including the child, their parents or the young person.

Person-centred practice
The new ALN system places greater focus on putting the child or young person at the heart of the process when planning, identifying their ALN and determining ALP.  Local Authorities, schools and FEIs must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of children, their parents or the young person. 

Schools, FEIs and Flintshire County Council will work collaboratively with children, their parents or the young person when deciding on ALN and ALP.  Where necessary, relevant services such as social care and health services will also be involved. 

There are a range of person-centred tools that schools and Flintshire County Council can use to capture views, wishes and feelings.  These tools help support communication, planning and decision making.  Information gathered using the tools can be used to develop a One Page Profile, which includes important information under three key headings:
• What people like and admire about me
• What is important to me and 
• How best to support me

Person-centred reviews will ensure everyone’s voice is heard, with all relevant information taken into account.  Welsh Government has developed this useful guide for families: https://gov.wales/person-centred-reviews-guidance-families

Clear and consistent rights of appeal
It is recognised that sometimes disagreements about decisions may arise.  In line with the ALN Code 2021, it is important that these are resolved at the earliest opportunity.  If a child, their parent/carer or the young person is not in agreement with school decisions about ALN and ALP, they can request that Flintshire County Council re-considers the matter.  Following this re-consideration process, the Council will make a decision.  It has 7 weeks to decide and if it is agreed that there are ALN, to prepare an IDP.  This timescale is subject to there being no exceptional circumstances which may result in a delay.

All children, their parents/carers and young people have the right to appeal to the Education Tribunal against decisions made by Flintshire County Council or further education institute (FEI) in relation to their ALN or their IDP. 

When the school, FEI or Flintshire County Council make a decision about ALN, a letter and leaflet is given, which explains how children, their parents or the young person can exercise their rights.

Families in Flintshire will be able to access the new regional ALN Information and Support Service (ALNISS).  This service is provided by SNAP Cymru and will offer impartial information, advice and support for children and their parents or carers and young people who have/or may have additional learning needs.  This includes dispute resolution and ALN issue-based advocacy for children and young people.  You can find out more about SNAP Cymru at www.snapcymru.org .

Children under compulsory school age
Flintshire County Council has an Early Years Additional Learning Needs Lead Officer (ALNLO).  Their role covers children under compulsory school age who do not attend a maintained school.  They are responsible for coordinating our Council duties, raising awareness of ALN, and promoting early identification of need.

Eclipse
Flintshire County Council and its schools will use the Eclipse IT system to manage its processes under the new ALN system.  Eclipse is being used by three other neighbouring councils which will support a consistent approach across the region.  

Moving to the new system 
There is a gradual, phased approach to implementation of the new system.  Children already known to have special educational needs (SEN) will transition to the new system over a 3-year period.  This includes children at School Action, School Action Plus and those with a Statement of SEN.

Welsh Government has identified a timetable for transition to the new system which schools and the Council will have to implement.  Part of the process will be firstly to consider and decide whether the child or young person meets the definition of ALN as outlined within the new Act, that is, that they require ALP.  Depending on the decision, a letter called a Notice will be sent to the child’s parents or the young person.  Where there is agreement that the child/young person has ALN, as defined within the Act, an ‘IDP Notice’ will be sent.  Where the decision is that there is no ALN, a ‘No IDP Notice’ will be sent.

Useful Links
Information on the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018

Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales 2021 

Educational Psychology Service

What is an educational psychologist?
We are psychology graduates with experience of working with children and young people who have gained further professional qualification as educational psychologists. We are all chartered by the British Psychology Society or eligible to be chartered. We are concerned with all aspects of children and young people’s learning, behaviour, social and emotional development.

What do we do?
Each educational psychologist acts as a ‘named’ psychologist for a number of schools and other educational settings in Flintshire. A large proportion of our time is spent working with them on issues they have prioritised.

We work with:
• staff in educational settings
• parents
• personnel from other support agencies
• officers from the Education & Youth Portfolio and
•children and young people

We work on a consultation basis helping adults focus on possible solutions to the problems and concerns they have regarding the young people in their care. We work directly with children and young people both individually and in groups: e.g. carrying out observations and assessments, therapeutic interventions, helping young people express their views.

We provide training to staff in educational settings on aspects of learning, behaviour and child development.

We give advice to the local authority on various policies and initiatives and generally support the authority in carrying out its duties and responsibilities, including statutory assessments of children with additional learning needs.

Some members of our team have a proportion of their time set aside for work in specialist areas such as:
• behaviour, emotional and social difficulties
• early years work
• autism.

What if things go wrong?
If you are unhappy or concerned about the service you have received from us or have a complaint:

Contact the educational psychologist concerned.

If this does not resolve matters to your satisfaction contact the Principal Educational Psychologist.

If this does not resolve matters to your satisfaction contact the Senior Manager Inclusion & Progression.

How to contact us
If you wish to speak to a member of the service please contact us by phone, by letter or by email at Inclusion@flintshire.gov.uk
 
Education Psychology Service
County Hall,
Mold,
Flintshire,
CH7 6ND
Tel: 01352 704102

English as an Additional Language

Key Principles
It is the purpose of the EAL service to up-skill, support and assist schools in being able to successfully meet the needs of their EAL learners, enabling all EAL pupils to meet their potential.

The service works to ensure that all EAL children have a smooth transition into school. This may involve liaison with parents and guardians.

Monitoring and data analysis, undertaken in partnership with schools, forms the basis for a transparent, fair and equitable system of support for pupils and schools within Flintshire.

The Service also provides specialist, knowledgeable and up-to-date advice and training.

Admission Procedure
• The LEA is the admitting authority for all community and voluntary aided schools.
• Parent’s first point of contact should be the LEA. They are able to state their preferred schools and places are allocated on the basis of availability. However, many parents approach the local school directly.
• Head teacher notifies the EAL Advisor.
• EAL teacher/ Head teacher arrange for a meeting with parents to gain background and previous educational history. A Polish teacher can sometimes be provided if required. For all other languages, the EAL teacher will facilitate using language line.
• The EAL teacher will undertake an initial assessment, including consultation with school to ascertain language needs. 

Initial Assessment and Planning
There are three key areas:-

Information Gathering -
Initial contact should be made with schools/parents.  It is essential to gain information about the pupil’s age, first language, level of literacy and details of any special requirements/SEN. 
 
Determining Action-
In consultation with class/subject teachers, arrangements should be made for the induction of the pupil.  This would include assessment, placement in the appropriate year group and provision of background, cultural and linguistic information to the relevant staff. The EAL teacher can provide practical ideas and strategies for supporting the pupils in the class.
  
Provision of individual language targets-
Initial assessment can identify appropriate language targets for school and the EAL service to work towards.  The targets should be discussed with class teachers.  Teaching strategies should be matched to pupil’s needs, interests and abilities and take into account the demands of the curriculum.


Allocation of Support
Language development is monitored using the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) language stages A-E

Priority for support is given to pupils at WAG Level A – New to English and WAG Level B-Early Acquisition, and pupils with a standardized score of <85 for reading. 

Some support is also given to Level C- Developing Competence particularly in secondary school. 
 
Pupils arriving in secondary school in year 10 and 11 require significant support to access the curriculum.

Teaching assistant support is given where there are significant clusters of EAL pupils.

Bilingual (Polish) Support is limited, and is allocated according to priority of need. Children entering schools in Years 5-11 benefit from bilingual strategies to enable access to the curriculum.

Each school has access to a Specialist EAL teacher who can provide advice, support and training for schools. 

Monitoring Progress-Learning and Well-being
This is achieved through:
 Annual WAG assessment in December.
National Test and CSI data.
On-going informal assessment during the teaching time
Monitoring of emotional well-being during contact time.

Any concerns regarding progress should be discussed with the class/ subject teacher and a way forward agreed.   It may be that the pupil has difficulties in his/her home language. The outcome of the discussion may be to discuss the concerns with the Additional Needs Co-ordinator.  Parents should always be involved and informed. 

Assessment 
Timetable of Assessments

Initial Assessment- Undertaken on a new pupil on entry to school. 

Annual WAG Assessment of Language Acquisition (A-E).- This is undertaken  in November with an internal and cross-county moderation  in December.  

Liaison
Where possible, liaise regularly with the class/subject teacher to obtain an overview of progress within the curriculum. 

If a pupil expresses any concerns about their life and/or learning within the small group teaching situation then it is vital to liaise with the relevant teacher regarding this.  Older pupils, depending on language levels, could be advised on what they should do.

The Service can support schools to enable close liaison with parents.

Training can be provided on using the Telephone Interpretation Service. Polish translators can be provided, if agreed by the EAL advisor.

Language Development Training for staff is offered at least annually and can be accessed via the EAL Advisor.

EAL Leaflet

Contacts
EAL Advisor:   

Lisa J Davies  
Lisa.j.davies@flintshire.gov.uk
01352 703912

Admin:

Margaret Lewis
Margaret.lewis@flintshire.gov.uk
01352 703916

Education Welfare Service

The Education Welfare Service exists to ensure that every child and young person within the County of Flintshire is adequately cared for and receives maximum benefits from the educational opportunities provided, (including education otherwise than at school) in order that they may realise their maximum potential. The Service aims to offer, professional and quality welfare support to young people, their parents, their families and their schools.

The Education Welfare Service is an integral part of Flintshire County Council’s Inclusion & Progression Service.

Service Provided
Flintshire’s Education Welfare Service, is part of the Authority’s provision of a full and flexible response to the welfare needs of children.

The Service has a duty under the 1996 Education Act to consider the welfare of children and their families. The Service focuses upon early intervention, with parents and schools, to prevent harm and disadvantage arising from a wide range of educational and social problems and it holds a responsibility to work with other agencies in the protection of children and young people from abuse.

The Education Welfare Officers (EWOs) are based at the high schools, from which they deliver services to the cluster primary schools and children from the catchment area who attend special schools and Pupil Referral Units.

Referrals are accepted from school staff, other agencies or directly from pupils or parents.

Whole School Support
The EWOs provide:
1. Consultation, guidance and support re LA and Welsh Government guidance and policies on promotion of the best levels of school attendance, punctuality and inclusion.
2. Assistance in promoting a consistent ethos that values good school attendance and the development of the full potential for all pupils.
3. Work in partnership with schools and other agencies to promote pupil welfare.
4. Help and advice to schools in the implementation of their individual discipline policies.
5. Assistance to schools in the implementation of Home - School Agreements.

Individual Support and Direct Work with Parents and Pupils
Parents have the duty to ensure that their children receive education. The EWO role is to support them in any aspect of pupils’ welfare and attendance. The broad areas of operation are as follows;
 
Direct work with parents and pupils on problems affecting attendance
School strategies having failed to bring about an acceptable level of attendance, the EWOs may intervene to advise, assist and support parents to remove personal or social problems at home or in school that may threaten an escalation in, or the development of, disaffection and poor attendance. Parents’ permission may be needed if an EWO is to work with pupils.

Interventions may include: home visits, facilitating meetings between parents, children and teaching staff, individual support to pupils and parents and empowerment of pupils and parents to access appropriate support from other agencies and services.

Court action is taken as part of a process rather than at “the end of the line”. The decision to prosecute is based on evidence and arises from EWOs professional concern. The objective is to have children in school who are receptive to education and in a fit condition to learn. Court action is the LA’s responsibility (EWSs and County Secretary).

Pupils with Special Educational Needs - help in identification and assessment of children who may have SEN and, where appropriate, support parents and pupils in the process of assessment and review.

Pupils with Emotional and Behavioural Problems - assist school staff, parents and pupils with the early recognition and/or management of behaviour problems.

Exclusion of Pupils -
• Help school staff, parents and pupils and LA support services to prevent exclusion.
• Ensure school staff, governors, parents and pupils are aware of their duties, rights and responsibilities when exclusion from school is being considered and/or administered
• Help secure such temporary education as is deemed reasonable by the LA and expedite permanent provision for pupils without a school place.

Bullying - support to schools, parents and pupils, whether they be victim or perpetrator.

Children Educated Otherwise than at School (EOTAS) by the LA

Provide advice and assistance to schools, parents, pupils and LA on assessment and provision for children who cannot be maintained in a mainstream school because of exclusion, school refusal/phobia, sickness or in need of an assessment prior to placement.

Give assistance to parents, home tutors, schools and LA officers to reintegrate children in a full time placement as required.

Provide advice, assistance and support for Looked After Children.

Employment of Pupils
• Advise pupils, parents and employers on the application for licences for pupils involved in performances and permits for those in employment.
• Investigate reports of illegal employment of pupils and take the appropriate action.
• Investigate applications for matrons licenses re children in entertainment.

Inter Agency Community Work
• To be involved in activities recognised by the LA, which promote educational achievement and/or social well-being amongst young people their parents and families.
• To participate in multidisciplinary working groups recognised by the LA and promote strategies that benefit children and young people, e.g. young carers, juvenile crime, drug and solvent abusers.

Monitoring the Movement of Children Within and Between Counties
• Investigate the whereabouts of missing children and families in or outside the county.
• Advise and assist in the educational provision to children new to the County.
• Facilitate or assist the passing on of education or child protection information to other Authorities or the dissemination of such information from such Authorities.

Statutory Responsibilities include:
• Attendance
• Exclusions
• Child Protection
• Children in Employment

Child Protection
• Help identify children who may be neglected or in need or at risk of abuse.
• Follow the All Wales and Flintshire Area Child Protection procedures and assist child protection agencies in the protection of children who are “at risk”  attending case conferences and reviews as required.
• Advice, help and support to school staff, parents and children before, during and after Children’s Services involvement and, when appropriate, act as an advocate for the child.
• To provide training as and when required.

Tel: 01352 704137

North East Wales Sensory Support Service (NEWSSS)

The North East Wales Sensory Support Service (NEWSSS) is a regional provision which supports children and young people with a hearing or vision loss, their families and schools across Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire.

This joint Service is led by Flintshire County Council: The team comprises of 1 learning adviser, 6 advisory teachers and 4 outreach workers.

The team works with children and young people from birth to age 19.

Specialist skills tuition is provided for those children and young people with a significant sensory loss with support, advice and guidance being provided for families, schools and other agencies to provide a seamless approach to meeting the needs of identified individuals.

Contacts:

Learning Advisor:
Rachel Ward
Email:  rachel.ward@flintshire.gov.uk
Tel:  01352 703911

Admin:
Angela Saunders
Email:  angela.saunders@flintshire.gov.uk  
Tel:  01352 703917

Communication and Language Advice and Support Service

The Communication and Language Advice and Support Service work with pupils who have significant speech and language difficulties in a number of targeted primary schools. It is made up of an advisory teacher and a number of specially trained NNEBs. The advisory teacher undertakes assessment of the educational implications of the speech and language difficulties and provides advice, support and training for class teachers. The team is based at Flintshire County Council, Mold.

Tel: 01352 703916