The SCSC News

Press Release - Cuts in additional support teacher numbers set to have a major impact on pupils

Category
Published on June 17, 2016
Thousands of Scottish children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) may not be getting the support they need according to the SCSC, making it harder to close the educational attainment gap.
  • 22 of 32 Scottish local authorities record fall in number of additional support teachers

Thousands of Scottish children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) may not be getting the support they need according to a coalition of leading third and independent sector service providers, making it harder to close the educational attainment gap.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) (see Notes to Editors for members), an alliance of leading independent and third sector service providers that support vulnerable children and young people as well as their families, has highlighted new figures indicating a 13% fall in the number of additional support for learning teachers between 2010 and 2015, a new low.

It has called on John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills to make children and young people with ASN a priority and invest in their futures if the Scottish Government is to achieve its aspiration of closing the educational attainment gap.

Additional support may be required for those who, for example, have social emotional and behavioural difficulties, learning difficulties, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), physical or mental health problems, or are care experienced. Those with ASN come disproportionately from lower income families and areas of deprivation.

In the answer to a Parliamentary Question from Miles Briggs MSP, the number of additional support for learning teachers (those who have additional support for learning as their main subject) has fallen by 13% from 3,363 to 2,936 between 2010 and 2015 (see Notes to Editors).

22 of 32 local authorities recorded a fall in the number of additional support for learning teachers over this period:

  • Aberdeen City - drop by a third from 174 to 115
  • Aberdeenshire – drop by 10% from 292 to 263
  • Angus – drop by 15% from 97 to 82
  • Dumfries & Galloway – drop by 20% from 130 to 104
  • Dundee City – drop by 17% from 159 to 131
  • East Ayrshire – drop by 3% from 110 to 107
  • East Lothian – drop by 18% from 56 to 46
  • Edinburgh – drop by 26% from 168 to 125
  • Eilean Siar – drop by 36% from 22 to 14
  • Falkirk – drop by 18% from 131 to 108
  • Fife – drop by 18% from 236 to 194
  • Glasgow City – drop by 21% from 245 to 194
  • Highland – drop by 15% from 190 to 161
  • Inverclyde – drop by 15% from 47 to 40
  • Moray – drop by 12% from 99 to 87
  • North Lanarkshire – drop by 30% from 185 to 130
  • Renfrewshire – drop by 8% from 53 to 49
  • Shetland Islands – drop by 18% from 50 to 41
  • South Ayrshire – drop by 6% from 106 to 100
  • South Lanarkshire – drop by 17% from 156 to 130
  • Stirling – drop by 2% from 43 to 42
  • West Lothian – drop by 25% from 88 to 66

This is against the background of the fact that more than one in five (22.5%) of those in the school population – 153,190 pupils - are identified as having ASN, of which 61% are boys.1

The fall in the number of additional support for learning teachers means that pupils with ASN may not receive the types and levels of support that they both deserve and require. It also increases the strain on class teachers, with implications for both teachers and pupils within the class. It is vital that resources are directed to this group of vulnerable young people if we are to close the educational attainment gap and tackle social exclusion.

The coalition previously expressed concern at the level of cuts being proposed by local authorities and that with the impact this will have on much needed services and resources for pupils with ASN this may be breaching their statutory rights.

Stuart Jacob, Director of Falkland House School and member of the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition said:

“The fact that the number of additional support for learning teachers has fallen by 13 per cent since 2010, a new low, is deeply disturbing, especially as we are aware that more than one in five of the pupil population have ASN and we know the great benefits to be gained through early detection and intervention.

“If we are indeed to close the attainment gap and achieve the Scottish Government’s aim of equal opportunity for all, a welcome aspiration, it is this group of children and young people, who disproportionately come from lower income families and areas of deprivation, who desperately need extra attention.

“Cutting numbers of these specialist staff will only serve to isolate more 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.

“If we don’t act we are facing the worrying prospect of a lost generation of young people.”

1  Scottish Government, Summary of Statistics Trend Last Update, December 2015. Available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/TrendSpecialEducation (Accessed 25th January 2016).

-ENDS-

For further information please contact Alex Orr, Policy Adviser to the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, on 0131 603 8996 or contact@thescsc.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. Parliamentary question

16 June 2016

Miles Briggs (Lothian) (Scottish Conservatives and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government how many additional support for learning teachers there have been each year since 2007, broken down by local authority.

John Swinney:

The following table sets out the number of additional support for learning teachers in each authority since 2007. These figures only represent the number of teachers in Scotland’s schools who have additional support for learning as their main subject. In 2015, 95 per cent of children and young people with additional support needs were recorded as learning within a mainstream school and received support from a wide range of teaching staff across a range of subjects.

Teachers with additional support for learning as their main subject, 2007 to 2015

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Aberdeen City 191 184 192 174 161 167 147 116 115
Aberdeenshire 209 227 279 292 286 277 265 242 263
Angus 94 105 97 97 102 93 82 79 82
Argyll & Bute 29 36 41 42 42 43 41 40 45
Clackmannanshire 29 33 35 30 30 26 24 30 30
Dumfries & Galloway 83 125 121 130 124 132 124 120 104
Dundee City 182 169 159 159 148 148 137 138 131
East Ayrshire 55 64 115 110 109 111 111 107 107
East Dunbartonshire 46 66 55 53 50 58 60 53 58
East Lothian 41 44 60 56 58 55 49 50 46
East Renfrewshire 43 46 43 36 34 43 42 42 41
Edinburgh City 166 176 169 168 165 153 150 138 125
Eilean Siar 15 19 25 22 22 21 23 15 14
Falkirk 112 122 148 131 133 124 124 116 108
Fife 233 235 248 236 209 208 211 173 194
Glasgow City 235 240 214 245 236 260 245 220 194
Highland 225 208 216 190 171 163 150 129 161
Inverclyde 49 55 53 47 43 47 46 36 40
Midlothian 44 40 43 40 38 40 60 57 51
Moray 79 96 98 99 99 100 92 87 87
North Ayrshire 104 117 118 116 121 119 125 124 126
North Lanarkshire 186 200 189 185 175 162 140 147 130
Orkney Islands 19 22 20 22 26 27 32 29 29
Perth & Kinross 39 79 70 73 61 68 83 90 89
Renfrewshire 85 78 62 53 57 54 57 52 49
Scottish Borders 78 80 80 65 88 87 81 86 83
Shetland Islands 40 45 52 50 44 41 41 37 41
South Ayrshire 83 76 77 106 101 109 106 103 100
South Lanarkshire 119 146 151 156 158 152 150 137 130
Stirling 27 34 35 43 40 36 38 41 42
West Dunbartonshire 28 45 52 48 51 50 48 60 55
West Lothian 92 90 87 88 76 76 73 71 66
Scotland 3,062 3,301 3,402 3,363 3,258 3,249 3,157 2,963 2,936

This includes teachers in primary, secondary, special schools, and centrally employed teachers, with their main subject recorded as: Learning Support Secondary; Learning Support, Primary; SEN (primary) non-recorded pupils; SEN (recorded pupils); SEN (Secondary) non-recorded pupils; SEN Behavioural Support; SEN Learning Difficulties; SEN Physical Disabilities; Hearing Impairment; or Visual Impairment. The Scotland total includes teachers at grant aided schools.

2. The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) is an alliance of leading independent and third sector service providers that care for and support vulnerable children and young people as well as their families.

Its vision is for Scotland to become a world leader in the care and support of vulnerable children and young people. The SCSC aims to achieve this through campaigning for a wide-variety of high-quality, well-resourced and quickly accessible services. This is so that they get best possible care and support, tailored to their individual needs and helping them to achieve their full potential.

SCSC members, between them, deliver specialist care and education services to children and young people with ASN, as well as direct help and support to their families. They also provide independent advocacy, advice and representation to children and young people with care experience.

Members of the SCSC are:

Falkland House School: An independent school based in Fife that specialises in the education and care of boys who require support for learning. It was one of the first independent schools in Scotland to be awarded Autism Accreditation by the National Autistic Society and offers day, 39 week and 52 week placements.

Mindroom: An independent Scottish charity providing one-to-one support to families and offering help, advice and training to individuals and organisations who work with people with learning difficulties. Mindroom is dedicated to creating awareness of all kinds of learning difficulties and is an equal partner with Edinburgh University in the Salvesen Mindroom Centre.

Spark of Genius: An independent organisation offering residential care, education, autism services, post-16 employability programmes and adult services throughout the UK. It enables children, young people and adults who need a variety of support to achieve their potential.

Who Cares? Scotland: A third sector organisation that provides independent advocacy and group work opportunities for care experienced children and young people. They also train those delivering care, the Government and other organisations in the realities of growing up in care from the perspectives of children and young people. Who Cares? Scotland has been work with children and young people for over 35 years and uses this experience to campaign, lobby and speak out on behalf of care experienced children and young people across Scotland.

Young Foundations: Young Foundations: An independent organisation specialising in the care of children and young people with a range of complex needs. The aim of our Scottish service is to care, support, develop and empower young people with complex difficulties to realise their potential in a safe, secure and nurturing environment. This is achieved through a holistic model of care which is distinctive of compassion, skill and evidence based positive interventions.

Kindred: A voluntary organisation that provides information, advocacy and emotional support to parents/carers of children and young people with Additional Support Needs.

Action for Sick Children Scotland (ASCS): A Scottish charity working on behalf of ALL sick children and young people within our healthcare system, and for the best quality healthcare for children and young people in Scotland.   It aims to enable children and young people to exercise their rights to healthcare, to have these rights upheld and their healthcare needs met, in partnership with families and professionals.  ASCS does this through its projects working with children and families and by providing support, advice and information on children and young people’s healthcare.

  1. Further information on the SCSC can be found at www.thescsc.org.uk.

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