Scottish Government announces plans to recruit 1,000 extra pupil support staff
Around 1,000 extra pupil support assistants will be recruited this year to work with children with additional support needs.
A total of £15m will be allocated to councils to enable them to appoint the extra pupil support assistants to Scotland’s classrooms.
Last year, there were 693,251 pupils in Scotland's local authority primary, secondary and special schools and grant-aided schools. Of those, 199,065 were identified as having an additional support need, around 28.7 per cent of all school pupils.
Earlier this year, leading children’s organisation the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition called for more resources to support pupils with additional learning needs after figures revealed a reduction in spending and the number of specialist teachers.
The figures, from the annual Scottish Government pupil census, show that between 2012 and 2018, the number of specialist teachers supporting those with ASN decreased from 3,840 to 3,437.
They also highlighted a fall in the number of specialist support staff in key categories such as behaviour support staff, where the number has dropped by 58 from 2012 (from 180 to 122) and by 43 in the number of educational psychologists (from 411 to 368).
Education Secretary John Swinney said: “Every child should have the support they need to reach their full learning potential.
“Through listening to the experiences of children and young people with additional support needs, their families and those who support them, we recognise we need to do more to enhance their experience at school.
“Working in partnership with local authorities we will invest an extra £15 million in the coming year to increase frontline staff to support learners with additional support needs.
“This will make a significant impact in our classrooms and will help to ensure our young people and their families get the right help at the right time.”
COSLA Spokesperson Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “Additional resource for local government is always welcomed and this funding will make a positive difference to children and young people in classrooms across Scotland, helping those with additional support needs to reach their full potential on their school journey.
“Core Local Government services like education are vital to all of Scotland’s communities and COSLA will work hard in the coming months to ensure that Councils across Scotland continue to have the resources they need to support every child, young person, citizen and community.”
The Scottish Government will now work with Cosla to determine how the £15m funding will be allocated.