Latest figures from the Scottish Government highlight a worrying increase to 14 per cent in the number of those school leavers with additional support needs (ASN), who are unemployed nine months after leaving school (21st June).
Indeed, the gap between those school leavers with ASN and with no ASN entering so-called ‘positive destinations’, such as employment, training, further and higher education, has increased from 7.9 per cent in 2014/15 to 8.7 per cent in 2015/16.
With a reduction of £310 in additional support for learning spend per pupil, from £4,127 to £3,817 over this same period and a fall in the number of ASN teachers and specialist support staff, more support is required to close the gap, ensuring that we give these vulnerable children and young people the best possible start in life.
The Scottish Government’s Attainment Scotland Fund must be targeted at children and young people, not on the basis of just deprivation and free school meals, but to those with ASN.
With Scottish Government proposals to give schools, including more direct control over budgets, there is the opportunity here to target resources to improve the life chances of those children and young people who need it most.