Special Education Needs (SEN) - Additional Learning Needs (ALN)

The system supporting children and young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is changing from Special Education Needs (SEN) to Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

Find out more about these changes

Children have Special Education Needs (SEN) / 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 SEN / 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 SEN / ALN. This assessment may involve observation, tests, medicals and interviews with your child and SEN / ALN specialists. If we assess that your child has SEN / ALN, we will send you a statement of Special Education Needs / 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 SEN / ALN, or if you have been informed they have SEN / ALN, you can contact the Parent Partnership Service. 

They will help you to understand your rights within the SEN / 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 SEN / 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 helpline@snapcymru.org or visit the website.


We delegate funding to schools to support pupils who have ALN.

The amount of money delegated to schools is agreed by Headteachers at the School Budget Forum as a percentage of the overall school budget. Denbighshire delegates the majority of the education budget to schools.

Moderation meeting

To ensure that the funding is appropriately allocated to individual schools, an annual Moderation Meeting takes place between the Headteacher, the school ALN Coordinator and Specialist Advisors from the Local Authority.

At this Moderation Meeting, the school presents the case for each pupil who has ALN and the provision that the school is putting in place to support them in reaching their potential. It is then determined and agreed whether the pupil’s needs can be met from the main schools budget or whether extra resource is required from the ALN allocation. Decisions are taken in partnership with all schools and with the support of the Local Authority.

Quality assurance

The Local Authority undertakes a quality assurance activity with schools to ensure that the provision noted for the pupils with ALN is in place and that the impact is being monitored effectively. In addition, the Local Authority provides training and support in how to accurately record the additional support pupils with ALN have for schools.

More information

For more information on supporting pupils with ALN in mainstream Denbighshire schools, please contact the ALN Coordinator at the school.

Find contact details for a school to contact an ALN Coordinator.