It is the Local Authority’s policy that all children, as far as possible within the terms of the Education Act 1996 (amended by the Additional Learning Needs Education Tribunal Act (ALNET)), should be educated in mainstream schools with support provided where necessary. In addition we believe that our children and young people should, as far as possible, be educated within the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf. The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice for Wales 2002/Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code for Wales 2021 provides practical advice to professionals regarding their roles and responsibilities and further guidance is provided within the Equality Act 2010.
The Access and Inclusion Service in Rhondda Cynon Taf is a key element of the Council’s arrangements for the support of pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN). The service consists of:
- Educational Psychology Service
- Learner Support Service (including Behaviour Support Services)
These services are committed to the following core objectives:
- Equality of opportunity for all children
- Social and educational inclusion
- School improvement
- Partnership and collaboration
- Effective communication
The service follows the guidelines of the SEN Code of Practice for Wales 2002/Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code for Wales 2021 and is committed to working in partnership with others. All staff have the short and long term needs of the individual child or young person at the heart of their work. Safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults underpins all our work.
Being given the opportunity to access education is key to the future of all children and young people. Attending their local schools alongside their friends is the best option but for some learners we must recognise this is not always possible, or in everyone’s best interests.
Inclusion is a process whereby the barriers that exist to prevent access to participation and learning are eroded. The Access and Inclusion Service, alongside others, works towards achieving equality of opportunity and ensuring that diversity is celebrated.
Access and Inclusion works in partnership with agencies, both statutory and voluntary, to ensure that all children and young people with additional learning needs have the opportunity to reach their potential in a supportive environment that prepares them well for adult life and allows them to:
- Be healthy
- Stay safe
- Enjoy and achieve
- Make a positive contribution
- Achieve economic well-being
The main function is to provide support for children and young people with a range of difficulties including sensory impairments, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, speech language and communication disorders including Autistic Spectrum, physical and medical disabilities and general complex and specific learning difficulties.
Access and Inclusion Service recognises that:
- Services will be planned on a multi-agency basis to provide a seamless, efficient, quality support for children, young people and their families and schools.
- Barriers that exist to prevent partnership working must be overcome through effective communication and purposeful engagement at all levels.
- Policies and procedures, which enable pupils to have their special educational need identified and appropriately met, must be robust and transparent.
- The special educational needs of Rhondda Cynon Taf children and young people should be met locally wherever possible.
- Reconfiguration of teams and embracing changes in working practices, including technology, will be necessary to maximise efficiency.
- Learners with additional learning needs and their families/carers deserve equality of opportunity.
The term additional learning needs encompasses all children and young people with learning needs which are greater than those of the majority of their peers and not just those identified as having special educational needs as defined with the Education Act 1996 and the SEN Code of Practice for Wales 2002/Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code for Wales 2021.
Potentially there are many pupil groups who could be identified as having additional learning needs which need to be addressed.
Most schools can usually meet the needs of pupils with a wide range of learning needs and organise the school’s environment to maximise potential. The more flexible and responsive schools are, the more likely pupils are to make progress. Strands of action will need to be organised so that progressively more powerful interventions can be put in place to meet increasing need. This reflects the guidance of the SEN Code of Practice for Wales/Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code for Wales 2021 by adopting a graduated response. When a pupil requires additional help, it will usually be available within the classroom resources and managed by the class or subject teacher. Even if a pupil requires additional support outside the classroom, this should still be in the context of an inclusive curriculum. The progress of each child with additional learning needs is closely monitored and reviewed at least annually.