Parent Partnership Service

Information and Advice

ALN- What does it mean?

Approximately one in five learners in maintained schools in Wales have Additional Learning Needs (ALN). For many children and young people they may struggle at some point in their education. Children and young people make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Children and young people making slower progress or having particular difficulties in one area may be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed.

You should not assume, just because your child is making slower progress than you expected or the teachers are providing different support, help or activities in class, that your child has Additional Learning needs.

For some children with significantly greater difficulty than the majority of children of the same age and who may have a disability which prevents or hinders them from accessing educational facilities, they may require special educational provision.

These needs are currently met through three graduated stages of intervention:


  • Firstly, additional support provided by schools themselves (School Action);
  • Secondly, additional support by schools together with the involvement of external agencies (School Action Plus); and
  • Thirdly, a statement of SEN provides a legal entitlement to a specified package of support.


For a small minority of children with complex needs a statutory assessment will enable the local authority to determine and arrange the special educational provision.

In Pembrokeshire, most children and young people at School Action Plus have their specific needs met without the resource for a statement of SEN. This way of working is in keeping with the new ALN legislation which will replace the system of school-led intervention and local authority statements with a holistic system where all learners with ALN have an Individual Development Plan.

ALN will usually fall into at least one of the following four broad areas:


  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Behaviour, emotional and social development
  • Sensory and/or physical


Further information can be found in the attached information sheets.

ID: 306, revised 30/10/2017