Additional Learning Needs

Mrs Mac’s Website

Please click on the image to access Mrs Mac’s Website

The Additional Learning Needs Department’s main objective is to identify, assess and provide support for all pupils with additional learning needs.

The department is a busy, caring environment which provides a structured system of support. However, our main consideration is the welfare, happiness and progress made by our pupils. We pride ourselves on a pupil centred approach working closely with our parents and carers. We measure our success in many quantifiable ways but the measure that brings us most pleasure and satisfaction is how each pupil achieves in spite of their barriers to learning.

We have a robust transition programme at the school and most pupils with additional learning needs are identified before they arrive at St John’s. Information regarding their additional learning needs is transferred in the latter half of the Summer Term prior to transfer. It can be arranged that extra visits are carried out following a successful application to the school. Also, our year 10 pupils arrange a transition party for ALN pupils which is always a great success!

We also have close links with our post-16 providers and Careers Wales to ensure that our pupils are also fully supported during KS4 and their transition from St John’s.

All staff are informed about pupil’s strengths and difficulties via their detailed profiles and About Me profiles which are created in collaboration with pupils, their parents/carers and those who work closely with them. The profiles outline an overview of the young person and strategies that support them in the classroom for them to make progress and achieve their full potential.

Regular training opportunities are put into place for all staff and they are regularly updated on new approaches and ideas via the weekly ALNCo Alert.

Some pupils who may need some extra support will be taught by Mrs K. MacDonald in Room 33 for Maths and English lessons. The Department works in parallel with the Maths and English Departments, adapting schemes of work where necessary, focusing on basic skills whilst providing challenge. These classes are supported by our team of talented Support Assistants who are committed to supporting our pupils with significant learning needs, to bring out the best in our young people and help them to make progress. The Support Assistants attend a variety of courses to extend their knowledge as part of their continued professional development.

MAC (Mix and Chat) club is available before registration, at break and lunchtimes to any pupils who would like a calm environment during unstructured times and to foster social skills.

As part of our Universal Provision, there are many interventions available for our pupils in the form of:

Literacy, numeracy, SpLD support;

ELSA, Eye to Eye, YEPS to support pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties;

We also host a handwriting/ typing workshop weekly and hold homework support sessions daily.

We also have The Cwtch where pupils can be withdrawn from lessons to work in a quiet, calm environment or if they need regulation time.

The R3 facility of Response, Regulation and Reflection is now in place for those pupils who find it difficult to regulate during the school day and we have a Nurture provision in the form of CALON where an alternative curriculum is provided for our young people. Our school has just been awarded the Nurture UK Award which can help to remove barriers to learning that children and young people face, as well as boosting attendance which can lead to better attainment and less exclusion

Our school has access for disabled pupils including adapted toilet facilities.

In addition to this, we also liaise closely with professionals from outside agencies such as: Educational Psychologists, Behaviour Support Specialists, Speech and Language and Visual Specialist Teachers, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Speech and Language Therapists, Social Services, Resilient Families, YEPS and mental health services such as SHINE. Through multi-agency working, we endeavour to access the best support available for all of our pupils.

Provision for pupils with  Additional Learning Needs is regularly reviewed. Pupils with significant learning needs have an Individual Development Plan which are reviewed at Person Centred Planning (PCP) review meetings to which parents/carers and pupils are invited.

The implementation of the Additional Learning Needs Education and Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (ALNET) has replaced previous legislation. This new Act aims for equity rather than equality and as such requires all classrooms and teachers to adapt to ensure that learning is accessible to all, regardless of need. ALNET will see a number of changes including School Action, School Action Plus and Statements being replaced by Individual Development Plans (IDPs) which, if your child goes into further education, can stay with them until they are 25.

The definition of ALN has also been altered and only pupils who require an additional Learning provision (ALP) which is frequent, intense and over a period of time and beyond the universal provision offered at school will require an IDP. Universal provision refers to all the interventions and extra support services offered within school such as literacy and numeracy support, behaviour support, SpLD support, ELSA and much more and so will address the needs of the vast majority of pupils, formally recognised as school action and school action plus.

If you have any further questions or queries that are not addressed in the explanation above please do not hesitate to contact the school.


ALN Transition

We pride ourselves on the strong transition links we have with our feeder primary schools and Coleg y Cymoedd.

For pupils transferring to our school from primary, the process begins with the Open Evenings which are held annually for years 4 and 5.

Parents and pupils have the opportunity of visiting our school and speaking with Mrs K MacDonald ALNCo if they have any concerns about transition.

Transition at St Johns



Information about the ALNET Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Bill can be found here.


The Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Wales (ALNET) Act 2018 is just one aspect of the overarching ALN Transformation Programme. At the heart of these reforms is a focus on inclusion; putting children and young people and their families at the centre, and ensuring they are supported to reach their full potential.

The overarching aims of the Bill are to create:

· a unified legislative framework to support children and young people aged 0-25 with ALN in schools and further education

· an integrated, collaborative process of assessment, planning and monitoring, which facilitates early, timely and effective interventions

· a fair and transparent system for providing information and advice, and for resolving concerns and appeals


Welsh Government Fact Sheet

Information from SNAP Cymru on how the Act will be implemented

Person Centred Reviews


Complaints Procedure

It is in everybody’s interest to try and resolve concerns informally without invoking formal complaints procedures. So, if families are unhappy with any aspect of provision they should, in the first instance, discuss the problem with the Learning Manager. If the parent is not satisfied with the Learning Manager’s response or about ALN provision, complaints should be addressed to the ALNCo, Mrs K MacDonald. Further dissatisfaction should be passed to Assistant Headteacher, Mr Jason Toghill who can be contacted via our school office on 01685 875414

If the complainant remains dissatisfied, complaints should then be made to the Headteacher or the Chair of Governors. The Principal or Chair of Governors should be contacted via our school office or via the Clerk to Governors. Should the matter still not be addressed satisfactorily then the parent should refer to our school’s Complaints Policy. It is recommended that families obtain impartial information and advice on their expectations and entitlements.