Cuts in school provision for additional support needs ‘deeply worrying’
The number of teachers who provide support for children with additional needs in Scotland has fallen by 13 per cent since 2010.
According to Scottish Government figures released in an answer to a Parliamentary Question by Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon, the number of Additional Support for Learning Teachers has drop from 3,363 in 2010 to 2,963 in 2014.
22 of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities recorded a fall, with Aberdeen City and Highland seeing numbers fall by a third.
Education bodies to come under scrutiny
Scottish Government must stop ‘self-congratulation’ says educationalist
Blog: are council education debts to rise?
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC), a coalition of organisations working with children with learning difficulties and complex needs as well as those with care experience, said one in five of the school population are now identified as having Additional Support Needs (ASN). 62 per cent are boys.
A spokesperson for the coalition said the cut in specialist teachers was “deeply worrying” and could further isolate young people and their families.
“For us, this is completely unacceptable. By reducing the number of these teachers we are preventing many of these vulnerable young people chance of achieving a positive school-leaver destination, such as further education or employment, meaning that they are not achieving their full potential,” he said.
Those with ASN include young people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), ADHD, dyslexia and those with care experience, and disproportionately affects children from lower income families and areas of deprivation.
Local authorities have a statutory requirement to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their pupils. In her parliamentary answer Education Secretary Angela Constance said: “It is for education authorities to ensure that they have sufficient resources, including teaching and support staff to ensure that they meet their statutory responsibilities.”
Teacher numbers overall have also suffered a drop, from 52,022 in 2010 to 50,814 in 2014.