A person has additional learning needs (ALN) if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability (whether the learning difficulty or disability arises from a medical condition or otherwise) which calls for additional learning provision.

What we do

At Wrexham County Borough Council we place a high priority on improving the outcomes and raising aspirations of our children and young people with special educational needs (SEN)/ additional learning needs (ALN).

As a local authority we work with our settings, schools and colleges to support children and young people with ALN.

Our aims as an education provider

Each person is valued as an individual

Children and young people’s varying needs should be dealt with sensitively and effectively. We believe that if each child receives a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum this makes sure that:

  • self-esteem and confidence are enhanced 
  • a positive attitude is developed.

Pupils with ALN are successfully included

Within our schools, every teacher is a teacher of all pupils. This includes pupils with ALN, as well as those with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Promoting and sustaining a whole school approach to wellbeing

This approach recognises the strong links between wellbeing and outcomes for our children and young people.

Every child is equal, valued and unique

Pupils should be provided with an environment where they feel safe and can flourish. We will respond to individuals in ways which take into account their varied life experiences and particular needs.

All pupils supported to achieve their best

We are committed to providing an education that allows all pupils to make progress, so that they:

  • become confident individuals living fulfilling lives 
  • make a successful transition into adulthood.

Person centred education

We are committed to paying attention to what is important to and what is important for each child.

Promoting and supporting children’s rights

We are committed to ensuring the rights of each child, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Relevant codes

When does each code apply?

SEN Code

For current cases of SEN that have not been converted to the new ALN system yet. 

ALN Code

For new cases where a child or young person's needs have been considered since January 2022 or where a conversion process has taken place for those previously captured through the SEN Code of Practice.

The Inclusion Service

Our Inclusion Service works with families, schools/settings and professional agencies to support children and young people with SEN/ALN.

The service follows the current legal framework in Wales, which consists of:

  • The SEN Code of Practice for Wales (2002)
  • The Education (Special Education Needs) (Wales) Regulations 2002
  • The Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Educational Tribunal Act (2018)
  • The Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales (2021)

If your child has a Statement of SEN, the SEN Code of Practice applies. If your child is considered to have an ALN, has an IDP or is transitioning to an IDP, then the ALN Code applies.

All of our mainstream schools aim to provide an inclusive learning environment for children and young people. However, we recognise that not all children thrive best in an inclusive, mainstream environment. A person centred decision could be made that their needs may be best met in a specialist provision. These include resourced provisions, special schools and special colleges.

What support can we provide?

For all enquiries relating to the following services, please contact your child’s school in the first instance.

The Inclusion Service has a range of teams to support children and young people with SEN/ALN. These include:

Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Service

What do we do?

We support the fully inclusive education system where all learners are given the opportunity to succeed. In this system learners have access to education that meets their needs and allows them to participate in, benefit from, and enjoy learning.

We manage and co-ordinate the ALN system for children and young people between the ages of 0 - 25 years old.

We work with other agencies to support inclusive practice in schools, along with offering advice and training regarding all aspects of inclusion and the graduated response to supporting learners with ALN.

We are responsible for administrating and coordinating the duties placed upon local authorities in line with ALN legislation. 

These responsibilities include making decisions about ALN, securing appropriate additional learning provision (ALP) and preparing and maintaining Individual Development Plans (IDPs).

We support a person-centred approach and encourage participation. This includes listening to children, young people and their parents, and taking their views into account.

Why would my child be referred to the ALN Service?

For a small number of pupils, the graduated response provided by schools may not be sufficient to allow them to make adequate progress. If the rate of development continues to be a significant cause for concern, despite the school having implemented all recommendations from external agencies for a reasonable period of time, the school may  decide to refer the case to us (as the local authority).  

Who do we work with?
Parents and carers 

To provide advice on the ALN graduated response and the provision available in schools. We support parents through the local authority consideration or reconsideration processes and ensure they are fully informed, and they:

  • understand any decisions being made
  • understand their rights of appeal to the Educational Tribunal for Wales (ETW) 
  • are aware of relevant support agencies

To ensure that appropriate provision is available within schools for pupils with ALN and make sure their views are considered by promoting person centred practices. 


To ensure compliance with legislation, effective communication, consistency in provision and to provide ongoing professional development. This includes working with Additional Learning Needs Coordinators (ALNCos) and school staff.


To communicate and work with a range of education, social care, health and any other relevant organisations to meet individual pupil needs.

Educational Psychology Service

What do we do?

We provide services for schools and for children/young people between the ages of 0-25 years.

We use psychology to:

  • Work with children and young people to promote their well-being so that they can be successful learners, alongside their peers
  • Work with teachers, parents/carers and other professionals to establish what a child’s/young person’s emotional; learning, or developmental needs may be, and how to support them
  • Help with the understanding of how children develop, the importance of their emotional/social well-being and to identify how they learn best
Why would a school/parents request involvement from an educational psychologist?

Children and young people can receive support from our service for lots of different reasons. Before the involvement of an educational psychologist, the school will discuss any concerns regarding a child’s development, learning and or well-being with parents.

Where schools or colleges do not fully understand a child’s needs, or where there is concern regarding their rate of development or progress, a request for the involvement of an educational psychologist may be considered - providing written consent has been given by parents.

Who do we work with?

Educational psychologists work with pupils, parents/carers, school staff and a range of professionals. Their work includes:

  • Gathering information with the pupils, their parents and teachers, using a variety of methods including consultation and observation. 
  • Direct work with pupils - this could include exploring their social and emotional well-being with them or assessing their learning needs.
  • Direct work with ALNCos, teachers and teaching assistants.
  • Working with schools and colleges to track the progress of a pupil, or groups of pupils - this might include work with individuals, groups, classes or whole school approaches.
  • Working collaboratively with other agencies such as Inclusion Officers, The Behaviour Support Team, Education Social Workers, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Speech & Language Therapists. 
  • Delivering training packages to school staff, such as Person Centered Planning (PCP), the Student Assistance Programme (SAP) or Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) training. 
  • Contributing to a weekly consultation along with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and school staff.

Early Years Additional Learning Needs Service

What do we do?

We provide a range of services to support children in the Early Years. We do this by:

  • supporting childcare and education settings by providing training courses on additional learning needs and educational tribunal requirements
  • conducting visits to upskill practitioners working within early years settings
  • supporting transitions as children move onto school
  • providing individual support for early years children by providing observation visits and reports with suggested strategies
  • supporting parents and carers with advice and guidance

Our aim is always to support the early identification of additional learning needs through training and visits. We aim to intervene in a supportive, sensitive and targeted way to support each individual child to meet their potential and have the best chance of success when they move onto school.

Why would my child be referred to the Early Years Additional Learning Needs Service?

Parents, health professionals or setting practitioners can request a referral if they have concerns regarding a child’s development.

Before a request is made, the area of concern will have been discussed with the child’s parent / carer who will have given appropriate written consent. The concern will also have been raised with the appropriate early education/Flying Start or Childcare Team advisor, in the first instance. 

In Wrexham we encourage all education and childcare settings to follow Wrexham’s Early Years Provision Map and supporting strategies documents which are made available to all settings and practitioners. 

The Early Years Additional Learning Needs Service also provides targeted support for pre-school children, their families and setting practitioners where the child already has identified ALN.

Who do we work with?

We work with children, parents/carers, setting practitioners and a range of professionals, including health professionals. This includes:

  • working with educational professionals to identify strategies to support the child in setting
  • training and skill sharing with practitioners to encourage early identification of additional needs and prevent it developing further
  • home visiting using ‘Portage principles’ to support young children and their families at home
  • individual play based interventions
  • person centred thinking to identify the child’s need and plan the next steps with parents and practitioners
  • setting observations to identify what is working and best ways to support the child
  • enhanced transition support from home/setting into education
  • multiagency working to support the child, family and education setting

ANEW (Behaviour Support Team)

What do we do?

We aim to increase capacity within schools to support children with complex social, emotional and behavioural needs, promote their well-being and remove barriers to learning.

We work with children from reception age up to Year 7 (until the end of the autumn term). Year 7 pupils can receive this support if required (they will need to have had previous involvement from the team).

We offer advice to schools regarding: early intervention strategies, the Graduated Response, writing ‘SMART’ targets (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-related) and reintegration plans following fixed term exclusions.

Why would my child be referred to the ANEW Behaviour Support Team?

Some children need additional support around issues such as self-esteem, anger, regulating emotions, anxiety, grief/loss, transitions, social skills, empathy and risky behaviours.

Where schools have concerns about a child’s social, emotional or behavioural needs, a request for involvement of the ANEW Behaviour Support Team can be made. This will only be done if parents have given appropriate consent. If required, the team can undertake observations and compile a report outlining next steps/recommendations.

Who do we work with?
School staff

To develop effective and consistent strategies to manage complex social, emotional and behavioural needs.

We also work with school staff to run interventions and support programmes that improve children’s emotional literacy (such as The Student Assistance Programme or Fun Friends).

Support staff 

To support with developing consistent strategies to manage challenging behaviours through modelling, mentoring and coaching.


Providing specific programmes tailored to individual needs. We also work with groups of children, in transition groups for example.

Traveller Education Service

What do we do?

We work with children, young people and their families, schools and professionals to promote high standards of attendance, engagement and attainment in education.

We support schools and settings to improve the capacity of schools to meet the needs of pupils from the Gypsy Traveller community. We do this to maximise their learning potential to ensure good outcomes, whilst being considerate of their cultural needs.

Data analysis of attendance forms the basis for a transparent and fair system of support for pupils and schools in Wrexham, to improve attainment. 

We also provides specialist, knowledgeable and up-to-date advice and training.

Who do we work with?
  • Children and young people
  • Parents and carers
  • Staff in educational settings
  • Staff within the Inclusion Service and other education services 
  • Staff from other departments within the local authority (such as transport)
  • Staff from other support agencies (including health agencies)
  • Staff from third sector agencies

Literacy Support Service

What do we do?

We are an outreach service which provides support to children who appear to be demonstrating a specific difficulty with acquiring functional literacy skills, in comparison to their ability in other cognitive areas. We work with primary-aged children from Year 2 to Year 6.

Pupils need to meet the referral criteria in order to be accepted for support via this service. Following a successful referral, pupils will be assessed. If appropriate, they will then be provided with targeted teaching intervention. Some pupils will also be monitored for a period of one term.

In addition to providing advice and support for individual pupils, we also offer skill-sharing and training opportunities for school based staff.

Why would my child be referred to the Literacy Support Service?

Some children show ability in most areas of learning, yet their reading and/or spelling assessment scores are significantly underdeveloped in relation to their overall cognitive abilities. 

Pupils accepted by the service would be demonstrating reading and/or spelling accuracy scores in the well-below average range.

Before submitting a referral (with parental consent) schools must demonstrate how they have attempted to maximise the pupil’s progress. They must have done this by using a range of appropriate school-based resources and interventions over a minimum period of two terms. They are required to submit relevant learning and progress data, monitored over a period of at least two terms. This monitoring must contain specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-related (SMART) targets.

Who do we work with?
School staff

This includes the ALNCo, class teacher and identified keyworker. The child’s assessment report will be discussed and an appropriate programme of work will be put in place.


We will ensure that the school invites parents to any interim and final reviews so that parents are kept fully informed of their child’s progress. Programmes of work and resources can be provided to parents on request.

Other agencies where appropriate

Some pupils being supported by the service may also be involved with other agencies (such as the English as an Additional Language service, the Educational Psychology Service and the North East Wales Sensory Support Service).

Where required, we will participate in multi-agency reviews or carry out joint visits (if appropriate). 

Speech and Language Outreach Service

The Speech and Language Outreach service is a joint service between us (Wrexham County Borough Council) and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. It is a school based service provided by speech and language therapists and language outreach coordinators.

What do we do?

We support children and young people with specific speech, language and communication needs, by working with health services (speech and language therapy). 

We can provide targeted intervention for children with speech, language and/or communication needs when they are referred to us. 

We also provide advice, support, training opportunities and skill-sharing for schools and settings.

Why would my child be referred to the Speech and Language Outreach Service?

You or your child’s class teacher may have raised concerns over key aspects of your child’s speech and language development with the Wrexham NHS Speech and language therapy department. 

A speech therapist would have advised that further support was needed (possibly after an assessment). A specialist speech and language therapist would then have carried out a specialist speech and language assessment with your child. 

This assessment would have determined that your child would benefit from accessing an intensive specialist approach to speech and language therapy input (delivered in their mainstream school setting).  

Who do we work with?

Those who have received advice from the Speech and Language Therapy Service identifying they have fallen in to the category of pupils who have specific speech and language difficulties, that require an intensive approach to speech and language therapy within their normal school setting

We also work with the child’s class teacher, the school’s key worker and/or the ALNCo and parents to discuss progress/next steps.

English/Welsh as an Additional Language (E/WAL) Service

What do we do?

We are a team of specialist teachers and teaching assistants, including bilingual team members that can provide support to minority ethnic pupils whose first language is neither English nor Welsh.

We work with schools to provide support for pupils’ language development and access to the curriculum.

We provide advice, support and training to develop schools awareness, understanding and capacity to provide for the pupils.

Who do we work with?

We work with schools and pupils to:

  • assess and moderate the pupils’ language ability using the Needs Assessment Survey, Welsh Government 5 stage model of language acquisition and monitor progress
  • identify appropriate targets with the class/subject teacher
  • provide training and advice to schools, other services and agencies on good practice and classroom strategies
  • provide opportunities and support for first language GSCE examinations
  • help schools and other services in meetings with families where possible
  • provide short term interventions for identified pupils meeting the support criteria

North East Wales Sensory Support Service (NEWSSS)

What do we do?

The North East Wales Sensory Support Service (NEWSSS) is a regional service which supports children/young people with a hearing or vision loss, as well as their families and schools. This joint service is led by Flintshire County Council and is provided across Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire.

Who do we work with?

The team works with children and young people (between the ages of 0-19 years) with a significant sensory loss.

The team also:

  • provides support to families of these children and young people.
  • helps schools and other agencies to meet the individual needs of these children and young people

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