Commenting on an increase to record levels of the number of pupils in Scottish schools with additional support needs (ASN), a spokesperson for the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition said:
“The Scottish Government’s ‘Summary statistics for schools in Scotland’ published today (10th December) (PDF) shows that the number of pupils with additional support needs (ASN) , such as autism, dyslexia and mental health problems, has reached a new high of 215,897. This represents 30.9 per cent of the pupil population, rising from 118,034 in 2012 and is an increase in numbers of over 82 per cent since 2012. Of this total 58.4 per cent are boys.
“Ensuring the adequate provision of educational support for children and young people with ASN is critical.
“While we are committed to the principle of inclusive education, and to the policy of educating young people with ASN in mainstream classes where this is the most appropriate environment for their learning, we have major concerns over a lack of resources and specialist staff to support these children and young people. This clearly has an impact not only on the individuals concerned but also on their peers and teachers.
“It is vital that those with ASN get the care and support they need, which is also key if we are to genuinely close the educational attainment gap. This is clearly challenging in an environment of austerity and evidence of cuts in spending per pupil with ASN.
“The cost to society in the long term if adequate resourcing is not provided will far outweigh any potential savings made today.”