Additional learning needs

Children have additional learning needs (ALN) if they have difficulty with learning, communication, behaviour or disability (hearing, visual, physical). Teachers have a responsibility to identify children with ALN and provide them with the extra support they need.

What to do if you think your child needs help

If you are concerned about your child’s progress, speak to the school directly. Your child’s class teacher will:

  • Provide extra support for your child. The teacher will draw up an individual education plan with you, and will review it regularly as your child’s needs change. This is called School Action. 
  • If the teacher thinks that School Action is not enough, they will ask for help from specialists, such as an educational psychologist or a speech therapist. This is called School Action Plus. 
  • If the teacher identifies long term learning needs, they will refer your child for a statutory assessment of additional learning needs (ALN). This assessment may involve observation, tests, medicals and interviews with your child and ALN specialists. If we assess that your child has ALN, we will send you a statement of additional learning needs. The statement outlines your child’s educational needs, what help they should get and how they should get it.

Parent Partnership

If you think your child has ALN, or if you have been informed they have ALN, you can contact the Parent Partnership Service. 

They will help you to understand your rights within the ALN process, and will make sure you have the right information and support to make informed decisions about your child’s education.You can get support and advice from The Parent Partnership Service, even if you child does not have an ALN diagnosis

The service is provided by SNAP Cymru. You can contact them on 0845 120 3730, Monday – Friday from 9.30am – 4.30pm. Alternatively you can email or visit the website.

SEN code of practice and legislation reforms

Reforms to the Current Special Educational Needs (SEN) legislation including the SEN Code of Practice, is underway.

Draft Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill – Outline of plans for legislative changes to be implemented across Wales.

The draft Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill (“draft Bill”) sets out proposals for a new legislative system for supporting children and young people, aged 0-25, who have additional learning needs (ALN). The new system would replace the existing legislation surrounding special educational needs (SEN) and the assessments for children and young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in post 16 education and training.

Consultation on the draft Bill was launched on 6 July 2015 and closes on 18 December 2015. It can be accessed on the Welsh Government's website.