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Needs Code February 2017


Chapter 7.1:

Chapter 7.1: Identification of ALN for those below compulsory school age and not attending a maintained school 7.1.1 The following three Chapters are split into identification of ALN depending on the setting the child or young person attends. Therefore, the Chapters contain similar information. Practitioners will only need to read the Chapter which is relevant to them. Summary 7.1.2 This Chapter provides specific guidance in respect of the identification of ALN for those who are under compulsory school age and not attending a maintained school, this might include those in pre-school. Chapter 20 deals specifically with education otherwise than at schools (EOTAS) and elective home education. 7.1.3 In determining whether a pupil has ALN, consideration needs to be given to a range of factors. Practitioners should refer back to the definition of ALN at section 2 of the Act, have regard to the guidance on the application of this definition set out at the beginning of Chapter 6, and apply it to the individual circumstances of the case. How the Foundation Phase Profile can assist in the identification of children with ALN 7.1.4 A child might receive education from a setting before compulsory school age. Tracking rates of progress of children from entry to compulsory school age is crucial. This tracking can aid identification and help to understand the developmental progress that the child is making. 7.1.5 The Foundation Phase Profile can help track a child’s developmental progress. Where the child is achieving a lower score than expected, this might indicate the presence of ALN. This should be complemented with other data available, such as information from health visitors, early years screening, any information gained from the child being included in a Flying Start area (such as information from the Schedule of Growing Skills (SOGS) Assessment). Health bodies in undertaking their duties might also identify, diagnose and assess conditions which might indicate the presence of ALN. Identification for those under compulsory school age 7.1.6 For those under compulsory school age the test for ALN is slightly different (see Chapter 6). However, the tools and methods for identifying ALN are very similar. Consideration should be given to a child’s development Page | 42

compared to their chronological age; information can also come from screening tools and assessing their skills in a range of areas such as preverbal skills. 7.1.7 Learning should build on the early experiences that children have in the home with their parents. They should have the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of the world through exploratory play and experiences. Play and language development are vital. Exploratory play should allow for development across all areas such as physical, social, language and interaction. Some children’s ALN might be identified at birth; other children will have their needs identified whilst they are of pre-school age. 7.1.8 Children might require considerable adult support to access appropriate play opportunities/activities. Significant adaptations might be required to enable exploratory play and early communication skills. Significant needs in one area of development can impact on other areas, for example physical and sensory development. 7.1.9 The identification of ALN can come from parents and a wide range of bodies (see previous Chapter). For those children who have not yet started education, services such as specific local authority run education services, Social Services, health bodies and specific health services such as audiology and Speech and Language Therapists and/or health visitors might be the first to identify potential ALN. The voluntary sector might also help to identify potential ALN. Section 6 of the Act and Chapter 3 of this Code sets out duties in regard to parents and the child, indicating where they must be involved and supported. Evidence 7.1.10 Identification should be based on evidence, this evidence might come from parents, from staff within an institution where the child is being educated or other services which have been involved with the child. 7.1.11 It may become apparent that there are particular difficulties or problem areas that can be identified and which may affect the child’s ability to access the curriculum such as: evidence of clumsiness; significant difficulties of sequencing or visual perception; deficiencies in working memory; significant delays in language functioning; any evidence of impaired social interaction or communication or a significantly restricted repertoire of activities, interests and imaginative development; evidence of significant emotional or behavioural difficulties, as indicated by clear recorded examples of withdrawn or disruptive behaviour; a marked and persistent inability to concentrate; Page | 43

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