What is additional support for learning?

Additional support for learning means giving children extra help or support so they can get the most out of their education.

A child or young person is said to have ‘additional support needs’ if they need more – or different support – to what is normally provided in schools or pre-schools to children of the same age.

It doesn’t just apply to children who have long-term learning difficulties or disabilities. Children can need support for many reasons. Some may need a lot of support all the way through school. Others will only need a small amount for a short time.

Read our handy summary – Understanding the basics: What is additional support for learning?

Find more detailed advice and information about additional support for learning in our guides and factsheets.

Additional Support for Learning isn’t just a good idea – it’s the law.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 came into force in 2005 and was amended in 2009. The law sets out how pupils should be helped to get the right support to become successful learners and explains how parents can make sure this happens.

To find out what the law means in practice see The parents’ guide to additional support for learning. For more information on amendments contained in the 2009 Act see our two page summary – ASL-Act-2009-changes

You can view the 2004 Act in full, and the full 2009 Act is also available. Supporting children’s learning code of practice is the guidance which explains the law.

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