Individual Development Plans

An Individual Development Plan is a statutory document that supports a child or young person with their education in Wales. The IDP details the Additional Learning Needs of the child or young person and the Additional Learning Provision that is required to meet those identified needs. The IDP will also provide details of the school or school setting where the child or young person is to be educated. The IDP replaces the former planning and statutory processes for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs.

An Individual Development Plan focuses on what your child needs to reach their educational potential. An Individual Development Plan can be prepared and maintained by either a school or a Local Authority depending on a variety of factors. If you think that your child may have learning needs or is experiencing difficulties at school then you will need to apply to the school or Local Authority requesting a Statutory assessment of need. We can provide support with the Statutory assessment request. The request will be made by us on your behalf setting out the law and legal framework that applies to your case and sending any relevant documentation in support.

Once a request has been made the school or the Local Authority will decide whether they are willing to carry out an assessment. If they agree then they will instruct experts to assess your child. An Educational Psychologist is normally instructed to assess your child but it is dependent on the needs of the child and there may be additional experts that are required such as Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. You will also be asked to contribute to the assessment process as you will know your child better than anyone else. Once they have carried out the assessment, they will then decide whether they will issue an IDP.

The decision of the school or the Local Authority will determine the next stages of the process. If they agree to issue an IDP then you will be sent a draft of the document to consider and provide feedback. It is important that the needs are accurately described and the provision your child is to receive is accurate and quantified. If they do not agree to issue an Individual Development Plan or the IDP is not fit for purpose then you will have the option of appealing to the Education Tribunal for Wales. You must be aware that you can only appeal to the Tribunal against decisions of the Local Authority.

Your child may already have a Statement of Special Educational Needs [a Statement] and they will transition to the new Additional Learning Needs system. Some have already done so.

You may also find yourself with questions over Education Health & Care Plans. Whatever your question relating to Individual Development Plans, contact us so that we can assist.

Individual Development Plans FAQs

All IDPs will contain certain key elements and have the same basic structure which will include the following:

  • Basic information about your child or young person and contact details
  • Who has responsibility for maintaining the plan
  • A one page profile containing key information about your child’s personality, gifts and talents - What is important to them and the best way to support them
  • Their learning needs
  • The additional learning provision to meet those needs
  • Intended outcomes
  • Review date
  • Name of school placement
  • Record of information used to prepare the IDP
  • Timeline of key events
  • Previous education settings attended

Whilst there is no strict template to use as such, each IDP must contain the same ‘sections’ to ensure broad consistency. If any of this information is missing from your child’s IDP or is inadequate, then you need to contact us immediately.

If you disagree with any of the content of the IDP then you should contact the school or Local Authority to see if you can resolve those issues.  You will be sent a draft version of the proposed IDP so any disputes can be resolved direct.  There is also the option of attempting to settle the areas in dispute through mediation / dispute resolution.  If things still cannot be resolved between you and the school or Local Authority, then you can appeal to the Education Tribunal for Wales.

If you are thinking of disputing the content of the IDP or indeed appealing to the Education Tribunal then please contact us for free to discuss your situation.

The decision all comes down to whether the law is satisfied.  The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 outlines the legal criteria required to be successful in securing an IDP.  Whilst you would expect the law to provide clear guidance on what ought to be applied in each situation it is not always straightforward and there are many arguments and challenges that arise.  Given that schools can now be responsible for an IDP it is likely to make the chances of a dispute arising more probable.  We can apply the law to your case and give you a good indication of your chances of success.

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