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Getting support for Additional Learning Needs

Find out what to do if you think a child or young person needs extra support to learn. Information on who to talk to and how to get support.


How to get support: A step-by-step guide 

As a parent or carer, you might be concerned your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN). A child or young person has ALN if they:

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age or

  • have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream maintained school or Further Education Institution

If you want to find out more about how you and your child can get support, please watch this video and read the step-by-step guide below.


Step 1: Speak to your child’s teacher

If you think that your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN) talk to your child’s teacher or ALN Coordinator (ALNCo). They are trained to provide information, advice and guidance.


Step 2: Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) together

If the school agrees with you that your child has ALN, they will work with you, your child and any professionals involved with them to create an IDP. It is important that you do so, as you know your child best. An IDP is normally revised every 12 months, or sooner if required.


Step 3: Discuss any concerns with the school or local authority

If the school does not agree that your child has ALN, or you are not happy with the content of your child’s IDP, the first thing to do would be to discuss this with your school. If you are still dissatisfied then you can consider talking to your local authority to seek further advice. If the local authority agrees with you then an IDP will be prepared or revised.


Step 4: You can have access to an advocate

If the local authority agrees with the school but you are still unhappy, they can point you to independent advocacy services that support families, children and young people to make informed choices on what to do next.


Step 5: You have a right to appeal

All children and young people and their parents or carers have the right to appeal against decisions to the Education Tribunal of Wales (ETW). The ETW is a special group of people whose job is to deal with disagreements. If needed, they will provide a case friend to support your child. A case friend is someone who will support your child through the tribunal process. You should always discuss any concerns with the school or local authority in the first instance.