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Cardiff Council

Identifying Additional Learning Needs

Many children and young people will experience some short-term difficulties with their learning. For example, if they had time out of education because of:

  • temporary illness, 
  • bereavement, or 
  • some other trauma. 

In these circumstances, schools and Further Education Institutes (FEIs) may need to help the child or young person catch up or take steps to stop the issue from escalating. If your child experiences an issue like this, it does not necessarily mean they will have additional learning needs. 

Children and young people who are considered ‘more able and talented’ do not have difficulty in learning because of their enhanced ability or talent. These learners may need more opportunities and challenges to reach their full potential, but this should be provided as part of differentiated teaching.

The additional learning needs (ALN) code gives a clear definition of ALN for school age children and young people. We must use 2 tests to work out if they have ALN.

Every school in Cardiff offers comprehensive provision that can help children with their needs. If you have any questions regarding ALN or provision in your school, please talk to your class teacher or the schools’ Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo).

The 2 tests

Find out about the 2 tests we must use. 

Test 1: Does the child or young person have a learning difficulty or disability? 

The school and council will consider these key questions when making a decision:

  • Does the child or young person have more difficulty in learning than the majority of people their age?
  • Does the child or young person have a disability (according to the Equality Act 2010) which stops them from using facilities for education or training that are provided for people their age in a mainstream maintained schools or mainstream Further Education Institutes (FEIs)?

If the answer to either question is yes, the second test must be carried out. 

If the answer is no to both questions, the child or young person does not have ALN.

Test 2: Does the learning difficulty or disability call for ALP?

The second test is whether the child or young person’s learning difficulty or disability needs additional learning provision. 

Additional learning provision can take many forms. It might include support that takes place inside or outside the mainstream classroom that is different to what is currently available to people of the same age. It could also be delivered in settings outside of the school or FEI by external professionals. 

If the child or young person needs additional learning provision, they have ALN and need an individual development plan (IDP).

Healthcare needs 

If your child has a medical condition, this does not necessarily mean they have ALN. If they need treatment or a medical procedure in school, they may need an individual healthcare plan.

There are a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities, which can be broadly split into 4 areas: 

  • communication and interaction,
  • cognition and learning,
  • behaviour, emotional and social development, and 
  • sensory and physical.

If your child speaks or uses a different form of language at home, this does not necessarily mean they have ALN. 

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