Individual Development Plan (IDP)

What is an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?

Children and Young people 0-25 with additional learning needs (ALN) will have an Individual Development Plan (IDP) 

The IDP is a legal document which describes a child or young person’s additional learning needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.  

It is a “plan” because it not only describes the ALN, but it also plans the action that must be taken for the child or young person.  It also provides a record against which a child or young person’s progress can be monitored and reviewed.

Over the next three years, individual development plans (IDPs) will replace all the existing plans including:

  • Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for learners currently supported through Early Years Action/School Action or Early Years Action Plus/School Action Plus.
  • Learning and Skills Plans (for learners over 16)

The IDP is intended to be a flexible document.  It will vary in length and complexity depending on the different needs of the child or young person.

The IDP will be reviewed every 12 months and will change according to the child or young person changing needs

See chapter Chapter 23 of the ALN code for more information : Preparing and maintaining an IDP, and its content

Reviewing Individual Development Plans (IDP’s)

It’s very important that ALL children and young people enjoy success and achievement and make good progress in learning.

Early Years settings, schools and colleges use the information they have about each child or young person who has been identified as having ALN, to plan for the most appropriate support to meet their needs.

Schools and colleges will continually review how well all learners, including those with ALN, are progressing and alter the support needed accordingly.  Sometimes this will be shared in face to face meetings with parents or sometimes more informally.

An Individual Development Plan(IDP) MUST be reviewed every 12 months.  However a school, college or local authority can review a plan at any time and revise a plan following the review.

A child or young person’s IDP is flexible document that should be reviewed and changed as a child’s or young person’s needs develop and change over time.  There may for example, have been a sudden or unexpected change in circumstances (a child or young person’s needs may have become significantly more severe or the type of support provided may not be effective)

If the child or young person’s ALN change, the IDP should be updated or reviewed.

An IDP MUST also be reviewed:

  • at the request of a child or a child’s parent, or a young person
  • at the request of an NHS body required to secure provision

If an IDP is revised, a copy of the revised plan MUST be provided to the child and their parent, or the young person.

Following a request, a  school or college may decide not to review the IDP  because they believe there have been no real changes since the last time that the IDP was reviewed and the consider a review to be unnecessary.

The ALNET Act section 23.10 says a child, parent, or the young person should be notified of the decision and reasons for it.

A blanket policy not to update an IDP except at certain points in time would be unlawful.  Schools and local authorities have the power to update a plan at any time and should do so when the evidence suggests a child’s or young person’s needs have changed.

If a school, FE, or LA conducts a review following a parental request, then it MUST complete the review including giving a copy of the revised IDP to the parent or a notification of a different decision.  Promptly  or within 35 days (schools) 7 weeks LA

A child, child’s parent or young person may appeal a local authority’s decision not to revise an IDP to the Education Tribunal

(Chapter 25 ALN Code, Section 23 &24 of the ALNET Act provides information on reviewing IDP’s.)

If you have questions, or need more information, you can scroll down to read through our frequently asked questions, we’ve covered many different topics to make things clear for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve put together a number of questions and answers relating to IDP’s & reviewing IDP’s

Who will be responsible for the IDP?

Most IDP’s will be maintained schools and colleges.

Where a school or college has prepared an IDP for a child, it must maintain that IDP.  The word to ‘maintain’ means being legally responsible for making sure the additional learning provision described in the plan is obtained, provided and reviewed for the child or young person.

LA’s rely on schools and colleges to make the additional learning needs provision for most children and young people and will give funding to the school to enable them to do this.

However, for some children and young people those with more complex or low incidence needs,  local authorities will be responsible for maintaining the IDP’s

Local Authorities will also be responsible for IDPs for the following:

  • children under 5 with ALN (not in a maintained school)
  • those attending a specialist school or college,
  • those who are who are dual registered, EOTAS,
  • Looked after children (LAC)
  • ‘Detained’ children and young people

Mainstream colleges will be responsible for IDP’s for their students

What is included in an IDP?

The individual development plan will be portable between LA’s and be easy to understand and transparent.   Schools, colleges and local authorities MUST use the standard form at Annex A of the ALN Code when preparing or maintaining an IDP for a child or young person.

Whilst there are standard sections in the IDP , they may look superficially different in different local authorities or schools.

The IDP will include:

  • biographical information and contact details
  • a clear and comprehensive description of the child or young person’s additional learning needs 
  • a description of the additional learning provision (ALP) – specified and quantified. i.e. how much and how often and who’s responsible for providing – what the child or young person needs to be able to learn
  • what will be done so they are properly supported in school or college
  • whether a child or young person needs ALP in Welsh
  • any additional learning provision(ALP) to be provided by health
  • clear tangible outcomes
  • the name of the setting /school or college (placement)
  • transition and travel details
  • the child’s, child’s parents or young person’s views wishes and feelings
  • a record of discussions, advice and evidence
  • who is responsible for maintaining the IDP

There are 10 specific sections of the IDP which can be appealed to the Education Tribunal.  These will be marked in red in the ‘ ALN Code’ in order to make it clear to the child, their parent or the young person, which sections have appeal ‘rights’ attached to them:

(a)       2 ;

(b)    2B.2;

(c)     2B.3

(d)     2B.5

(e)     2B.6

(f)      2C.2

(g)     2C.3

(h)     2C.5

(i)       2C.6

(j)       2D

See chapter Chapter 23 of the ALN code for more information : Preparing and maintaining an IDP, and its content


Who can request an IDP ?

lA request for an IDP can be made by a parent, professional, or the learner themselves:


  • children under compulsory school age ‘can be brought to the attention of’ the LA by parents or a health professional – i.e. the request is made to the local authority.
  • for school-aged children, the request is first made to the school. This request can be passed on to the local authority for ‘re-consideration’ or for the LA ‘to take over responsibility for the IDP’ if a school or parent feel the childs need require support or assessment that it wouldn’t ‘be reasonable’ for a school to provide
  • for college students, the request is made to the college – unless a specialist college placement is sought, in which case a request is made to  now (2022 -2023) to the Welsh Government Minister, in the future the request will go to the local authority.  IDP’s in post 16 education are good practice at the current time.  They will become part of the implementation from 2023 onwards.

Who will prepare the IDP?

‘If the school or college ‘decides’ that the child has ALN, it must prepare an IDP for the child ‘promptly’, and in any event within 35 schools days unless any of the following circumstances apply:

  • the school or college considers that the child has ALN – that may call for additional learning provision that it wouldn’t be ‘reasonable or them to secure’


If the CYP has complex needs which can’t be met unless the LA secures provision for example board and lodging; specialism (possibly because of cost or complexity)

  • or that the school can’t adequately decide on the extent or nature of the child’s needs or the specific additional learning provision needed

In both these cases the school will ask the local authority to decide

 (see paragraphs 12.36 – 12.46 ALN Code)

 If an LA maintains an IDP for a CYP they MUST provide:

  • the additional learning provision described in the plan
  • any other provision described in the plan

An IDP should be created by involving professionals working together to identify the child or young person’s ALN and the provision to meet those ALN. Importantly the IDP should be developed in collaboration with the child or young person, and in the case of a child, their parent in a person centred way.

The ALN Act says that the that the ‘views, wishes and feelings of children, their parents and young people are considered at all stages of the IDP process.’

The IDP template will include a one-page profile to ensure that IDPs reflect the child’s or young person’s needs and personality, including what is ‘important to’ and ‘important for them’.

Importantly the ALN Code recommends that before the IDP is completed, the child and the child’s parent should have every opportunity to comment on a draft and to raise any concerns as soon as possible.   Concerns should be consider and responded to, this may mean updating the draft IDP, or giving explaining the decisions for not revising he draft.

Once the IDP is prepared, a copy MUST be given to the child and their parent.

Chapter 23 of the ALN Code gives details on preparing and maintaining an IDP, and its content.

What is ‘Ceasing to maintain’ an IDP?

When a school, college or local authority ‘decides to take away, or end,’ an IDP, this is called ‘ceasing to maintain’ the IDP.

This means that the IDP will come to an end and the school, college or LA will no longer have the legal duty to ensure that the additional learning provision specified in in the plan is received by the child or young person.   

The duty to maintain an IDP ‘ceases’ at the end of the academic year when a young person reaches 25.  A duty may also cease because the child becomes registered or enrolled elsewhere or becomes Looked After ( LAC)

A school, college or local authority LA may decide to cease to maintain a Statement at any time, but they can only do so on certain grounds:

  • The schools/colleges duty to maintain an IDP ‘ceases’ (stops) if the child or young person leaves the school, the IDP is taken over by the by the LA, if the child becomes ‘looked-after’ by a local authority, or dual registered
  • The duty of a local authority duty ceases to apply if they are no longer responsible for the child or young person. (they may have moved to another authority)
  • A school, college and/or local authority may ‘cease to maintain’ a plan if it decides that the child or young person no longer has additional learning needs.

Before deciding to cease to maintain an IDP the child or young person and parent/carer must be notified of the proposal.

  • The child or young person and parent/carer must then be notified of the decision and the reasons for it. (This can be in a letter or email.)
  • The school or college must also notify the child or young person and parent of their right to request the local authority to reconsider the governing body’s decision.

If you are unhappy with the schools or college decision , you can ask the LA to reconsider the decision.

If the local authority is asked to reconsider the matter then it MUST decide whether the plan should be ceased. The LA MUST also notify the you of their decision and the reasons for it.

If the local authority decides that the plan should be maintained the governing body MUST continue to maintain the plan.

If you are unhappy or disagree with the LA decision, you may appeal the decision to the Education Tribunal.

During this time, the school must continue to maintain the IDP until the:


  • time period for reconsideration has expired or
  • the appeal period has expired
  • or an appeal has been brought to the Tribunal and determined(decided)

How should I ask for my child’s IDP to be reviewed?

If you feel your child additional learning needs have changed and are no longer accurately described in his or her IDP, or that the additional learning provision (ALP) in your child plan is no longer meeting the child or young person’s needs, you can ask for the IDP to be reviewed.

You can ask for the IDP to be reviewed at any time as long as you have a good reason.

If the child or young person’s IDP is being maintained by the school or FEI you should speak to the school or college first.   Ask the ALNCo or the Head teacher for a review of the IDP.  You should put his request in writing. (See Template letter)

If the school or college refuse to review the plan, you can ask for this decision to be reconsidered by the local authority.  The school should notify you if they refuse to review the IDP.

You should write to the most senior person at the LA, usually called the Director of Education or Head of ALN and Inclusion. (this differs in each local authority)  You can find information and contact details for this person in the notification letter sent to you from the school, or on the local authority website.

When you write to the local authority, you should also copy in the school or college so they are aware that you are asking for the local authority to reconsider and review the IDP.

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send.  If you don’t get a reply within two weeks, or if you need further advice, you can contact SNAP Cymru


Template letters > requesting school or FEI to review an IDP