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Report to Parliament: Implementation of the Additional Support for Learning Act
This week saw the publication of the fifth and final report on the implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act. The theme for the 2016 report is children and young people’s mental health.
The report highlights major developments relating to support for children and young people with additional support needs in education that have taken place. In particular, mention is given to the raising attainment agenda and the National Improvement Framework which both aim to ensure that all children, including those with additional support needs, are able to reach their full potential in school.
The report also highlights the extension of children’s rights which will come about through the Education (Scotland) Act 2016. This Act gives children over the age of 12 many of the same rights as their parents (in terms of asking for their additional support needs to be identified and met) and to ensure their voices are heard in decisions that affect them. Other work celebrated in the report includes the establishment of a new network of young Inclusion Ambassadors which has already seen two young people represent Scotland in Europe.
The report points to both factual and anecdotal evidence of increases in the number of pupils experiencing mental health difficulties and highlights the wealth of good practice underway in schools to address these concerns. The report includes 12 case studies where schools have successfully addressed mental health issues.
The report includes key facts and figures relating to additional support for learning, such as:
- 23% of pupils in Scottish schools are identified as having additional support needs. This includes those who do not have a learning plan but are receiving support. This a 2% increase on last year’s figure.
- 95% of pupils with additional support needs are being educated in mainstream school, making up 22% of the mainstream population.
- The report states that there is a £24 million increase in expenditure on additional support needs than in 2014.
- Pupils with additional support needs have slightly poorer attendance (92%) than children with no additional needs with (94%) although this has improved since 2010/2011.
- One area still causing concern is that children with additional support needs are significantly more likely to be excluded than children without. This is likely to be linked to the proportions of children who have social, emotional behavioural difficulties.
- Pupils with additional support needs are achieving well at national qualifications levels 1 – 4 but less well that their peers without additional support needs at level 5 – 7.
To read the full report visit the Scottish Government website.