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Assessments and the graduated response

If your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN), it is important that these are reviewed regularly to ensure your child is getting the right support.


Your child or young person may have different types of observations, assessments to help inform the support they need to reach their individual learning, social and emotional potential. There is also guidance and laws from Welsh Government in the form of legislation for schools and local authorities.


All children are regularly assessed. However, children with Additional Learning Needs require closer monitoring and regular reviews to ensure that they are progressing according to their age, ability and aptitude. The annual review is an opportunity to discuss both the progress your child has made and whether any changes need to be made to the statement. Your views (and those of your child) are an important part of the review. The timing of annual reviews should reflect the circumstances of your child, such as changing schools.

The graduated response

The current Special Educational Needs 'Code of Practice for Wales' gives guidance on the additional or different action that should be taken to meet the needs of pupils. It says that for most pupils, extra help will be provided in the classroom managed by the class or subject teacher.

This could be achieved by working with the rest of the class in small groups or on a one-to-one basis with a teacher or teaching assistant for short periods.

Different actions may need to be taken for pupils at Early Years / School Action, Early Years / School Action plus or those with Statements of SEN - this is called the Graduated Response. There are three levels in the Graduated Response:

1. Early years / School action

When a class teacher or the ALNCo identifies a child with ALN the class teacher should provide interventions that are additional to, or different from, those provided as part of the school's usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies. The basis for intervention through School Action could be the teacher's or others' concern, underpinned by evidence, about a child who despite receiving differentiated learning opportunities:

  • makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are targeted particularly in a child's identified area of weakness.
  • shows signs of difficulty in developing literacy or mathematics skills which result in poor attainment in some curriculum areas.
  • presents persistent emotional or behavioural difficulties which are not improved by the behaviour management techniques usually employed in the school.
  • has sensory or physical problems, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of specialist equipment.
  • has communication and / or interaction difficulties, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of a differentiated curriculum.

The school has a duty to inform the child's parents that special educational provision is being made for the child because the child has ALN.

The class teacher should draw up an Individual Development (Education) Plan - ID(E)P for the pupil and will discuss the plan with the parent. This plan is an action plan that sets out:

  • The child's difficulties;
  • Short term targets for them to achieve;
  • Details of who will work with the child and what materials might be needed;
  • When the ID(E)P will be reviewed.

ID(E)Ps should be reviewed at least twice a year. Ideally they should be reviewed termly, or possibly more frequently for some children. At least one review in the year could coincide with a routine Parents' Evening, although schools should recognise that some parents will prefer a private meeting. Reviews need not be formal, but parents' views on the child's progress should be sought and they should be consulted as part of the review process. Schools should encourage parents to make their views known. Wherever possible, the child should also take part in the review process and be involved in setting the targets. If the child is not involved in the review, their ascertainable views should be considered in any discussion.

You may be given some tasks to do at home with your son or daughter as part of the ID(E)P.

2. Early years / School action plus

If your child is at the School Action Plus stage of the Additional Learning Needs process, then as well as the actions at School Action, your child is accessing support from outside agencies alongside the school.

Each Local Authority has professionals from different 'specialisms' and they work as multi-agency teams with the schools. These could be (depending on the child's needs):

  • An Educational Psychologist;
  • A Behaviour Support Teacher;
  • A Specialist Advisory Teacher;
  • Other health professionals.

The different professionals meet regularly with the ALNCos at their schools. They will work closely with the school staff to provide advice to the school on how to work with individual pupils; they may provide an additional specialist assessment or they may work directly with the child. They will suggest new targets for the child or young persons ID(E)P.

3. Statutory assessment - 'Statementing'

The Additional Learning Needs of the great majority of children will be met effectively within mainstream settings through Early Years Action and Early Years Action Plus or School Action and School Action Plus, without the local education authority needing to make a statutory assessment. In a very small number of cases the local authority will need to make a statutory assessment of special educational needs, and then consider whether or not to issue a statement.

There are clear time frames set out for the stages of Statutory Assessment, the total length of the process should be no longer than 26 weeks. There is also a clear process of appeal for parent / carers.


Person centred planning

Person centred planning - PCP is a way of working together and communicating positively with each other, always with the child or young person at the centre of the process.

What is an annual review of the statement?

If your child has a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) the local authority must review that statement every year.

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