A very wide range of factors may lead to a child or young person having a need for additional support, which will help them to get the most out of their pre-school and school education.
Additional support may be required if, for example, they have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties, learning disabilities, physical or mental health problems, or are care experienced.
The Scottish Government pupil census indicates that in 2016, 170,329 pupils in Scotland’s schools (publically funded primary, secondary and special) were identified with ASN. This represents just under a quarter of all pupils (24.9%), of which 60% were boys. The number of pupils identified with ASN has increased by 44% since 2012.
Children and young people with ASN have disproportionately poorer educational and employment outcomes than those without ASN, with a resulting cost to society and the economy. They also disproportionately come from lower income families and areas of deprivation.
Support to those with ASN is provided, for example, by local authorities, NHS Boards, and the independent and third sectors. This is via professionals including ASN teachers and support staff (e.g. ASN auxiliaries and behaviour support staff), social workers, mental health staff, educational psychologists, and speech and language therapists.
Well-resourced services will help to address the poorer educational and employment outcomes these children and young people experience, supporting the closing of the educational attainment gap and creating a more equal society.
It is vital that those children and young people who are thought, for whatever reason, to require additional support, have this identified as early as possible and are promptly assessed and provided with the care and support they need. Such early intervention can assist in preventing further difficulties developing later, maximising their life chances and reducing the costs to society and the economy.
Under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended), local authorities have a statutory requirement to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of children and young people for whose education they are responsible.
However, the combination of an increasing demand on services, set against a background of cuts to public services and delays in identification, assessment and intervention, means that many children and young people with ASN are missing out on the care and support they so vitally need. This is leading to a potentially ‘lost generation’ of vulnerable children and young people.
We have built up a strong reputation campaigning for the delivery of a wide range of high-quality, well-resourced and quickly accessible services to children and young people with ASN.