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Supporting Children's and Young People's Learning: A report on progress of implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (As Amended)

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Ministerial Foreword

We have a clear but challenging ambition for all of Scotland's children and young people. We want them all to be able to get the most from the learning opportunities which are available to them, so that they can realise their full potential, in learning, in work, and in life.

The Scottish Government, through Getting it Right for Every Child and Curriculum For Excellence, has set out its ambition for services provided to children and young people, and for their learning. An important part of our approach is the recognition that all children and young people are different. To enable them to reach their full potential some will need additional support.

Those who work with children and young people have to make this a reality. Those providing learning and support services have to support and challenge children and young people to do all that they can, and that that can be both very challenging and rewarding.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the framework for the provision of support for learning in Scotland. The legislation was amended by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009. This strengthened and clarified the original legislation. The legislation also placed duties on Scottish Ministers to report to Parliament on specific information, this report fulfils those duties.

In addition to the information required by the duties I have decided to set out additional information collected by Education Scotland as part of their inspection and review functions and from other service providers who contribute to the implementation of Additional Support for Learning. The case studies show how additional support for learning functions in practice. This supports the information provided by statistics to make the picture 'real'.

I am pleased to note that the report shows that, broadly, children and young people's learning needs, including their additional support needs, are well provided for in Scotland's learning establishments. However, I also note that for those with 'hidden' additional support needs, for example those children and young people who are looked after, who have mental health difficulties and those who are young carers, more needs to be done. In addition, there is a need to further consider practice in relation to transition, and there is a need to share practice in order to support more consistency in the identification of, and provision for additional support needs.

I recognise that although schools, education authorities and their partners are achieving in implementing the additional support for learning legislation, there are areas which deserve more attention. It is therefore my intention to give detailed consideration to the concerns and issues which face those implementing additional support for learning in practice, and will set out, following consultation with key stakeholders, a long-term plan to support the ongoing implementation of the legislation. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting children and young people to achieve their full potential and will continue to be so.

Alasdair Allan
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages