The new ALN system and IDP process includes a duty on schools and local authorities to consider the views, wishes and feelings of the child, parents or young person, therefore, it is intended to help overcome most disagreements.
However, from time to time, disagreements may arise about your child’s Additional Learning Needs (ALN) or Additional Learning Provision (ALP). As far as possible these disagreements should be avoided or resolved at the earliest opportunity.
Firstly, discuss your concerns with your child’s school or educational setting.
Steps for parents to consider:
- Narrow down your concerns or point of disagreement to one or two clear points.
- Make a list of key points you wish to be considered
- Make a list of any questions you have and would like responses to prior to attending a meeting.
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 the LA re-considers the matter.
Following this re-consideration process, the LA will make a decision. It has 7 weeks to decide and if it is agreed that there are ALN that require ALP, an IDP will be agreed.
This timescale is subject to there being no exceptional circumstances which may result in a delay.
The Local Authority can be contacted at any point in the ALN process to discuss any issues or concerns you may have with the IDP process or concerns you may have about decisions the LA have made about your child’s education.
However, there might be times when you disagree with the decision made. It is important that your concerns are raised so that early discussions can take place, or a meeting arranged.
In the first instance, please contact your named officer who will be happy to help you (named on the letters you have received from us).
Most disagreements can be sorted out by talking with the other party.
However, if your concerns have not been resolved or communications have broken down, you may want to consider using Dispute Resolution.
These arrangements are for all children and young people who have additional learning needs. The service is there to help resolve disagreements about:
- how EY's providers, schools and FE's make ALN decisions
- the additional learning provision for a child or young person
- the content of IDP's
- local authority ALN decisions and reconsiderations as an alternative or alongside Tribunal appeals
The aims of disagreement resolution are to:
- help bring together the relevant parties
- support the needs of the child and young person
- help to achieve early and informal resolution of disagreements through discussion and agreement
- discuss the full range of options
- ensure the minimum disruption to the child or young person’s education
Local authorities are required to have an independent advocacy service to support parents and children, young people with the ALN system.
SNAP Cymru provides free, independent information and advice for parents of children and young people with additional learning needs.
SNAP Cymru promotes effective partnership working and recognises the importance of the active involvement of parents and young people in decisions about additional learning provision.
The service provides opportunities to talk through any concerns you have and to help you prepare for discussions in addition to attending meetings and visiting schools with you if you wish.
Education Tribunal for Wales
If you're still unhappy you can appeal to the independent Education Tribunal for Wales.
The Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (‘SENTW’) has been renamed as the Education Tribunal for Wales (‘the Tribunal’).
If parents/carers or the young person are unhappy with decisions around an IDP, they can appeal to the Education Tribunal within set timeframes.
It will also hear disability discrimination claims in relation to schools.
Issues that can be appealed include, a decision about whether or not a child/young person has ALN, whether they need an IDP, the contents of the plan, whether provision is in Welsh, and the setting.
Please see ALN Code 2021 for full list.