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Additional support for learning

Additional Support for Learning

The Scottish Government want all children and young people 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.

Through Getting it Right for Every Child and Curriculum For Excellence, the Scottish Government 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.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the legal framework for the provision of additional support for learning. The legislation was amended by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009. The Act is structured around the concept of support being needed for any reason, and for short or long term periods determined by the individual learning needs of the child or young person.  The key duties on education authorities are to identify, make provision for, and review provision for the additional support needs of children and young people for whose education they are responsible. 

The Act also places duties on education authorities, (and in certain circumstances health, social work and skills development Scotland) to work to plan and make joint provision for children and young people with complex or multiple additional support needs.  Where their needs are significant, require support from education and another partner agency, and will last more than one year, children and young people may have a statutory co-ordinated support plan to bring together all of the support to be provided to meet their learning needs.

The Education Scotland website provides further information and helpful links on Additional Support Learning.

The Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning (AGASL)

The Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning formally advise the Scottish Government and Scottish Ministers of issues relating to the implementation of the Additional Support for Learning legislation. This may relate to policy and practice development and may include issues which impact on the successful implementation of Additional Support for Learning.

The Group is currently chaired by Iain Nisbet, Head of Education Law at Govan Law Centre and the secretariat is provided by the Scottish Government.

The Advisory Group identified eight areas related to additional support for learning which they would consider over a two year period. These areas relate to implementation, emerging contextual issues which may affect implementation, and areas of implementation which need additional focus in implementation:

  • National Definition of Additional Support
  • CSP & GIRFEC Child Plan
  • Early Years
  • Revise Code of Practice
  • Accountability for NHS & Social Work
  • Post 16 Transitions
  • Reporting on outcomes
  • Reporting on the Impact of Provision

Further information on the Advisory Group, including membership is available in the long term plan of support for implementation details of which are included on this page.

The Supporting Children’s Learning Code of Practice  

The Supporting Children’s Learning code of practice explains the duties on education authorities and other agencies to support children's and young people's learning. It provides guidance on the Act's provisions as well as on the supporting framework of secondary legislation. The code uses the term "the Act" to include, where appropriate, the secondary legislative provisions and includes features of good practice on how these can be applied.

A subgroup of the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning will be established in October 2012 to consider a revision of the code of practice which supports the implementation of additional support for learning. The group will consider a range of concerns that have arisen around the appropriateness of the guidance. The revision of the Code of Practice will take account of the Children and Young People’s Bill and therefore the timescale for consultation on a new draft code will be no earlier than 2014 with publication after this.

The Code of Practice can be accessed via the link above.

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)

Scottish Ministers have a duty to report to the Scottish Parliament in each of the 5 years after the commencement of the Additional Support for Learning Amended Act on what progress has been made in each of those years to ensure that sufficient information relating to children and young people with additional support needs is available to effectively monitor the implementation of this Act.

The link above directs you to the first report which was published on 20 February 2012.  

Supporting Implementation of Additional Support for Learning in Scotland

The long term plan of support for implementation sets out the areas for action across 2012-2016 to further support implementation of additional support for learning legislation.

The plan initially addresses four broad areas. These are;

  • the support available for particular groups of children or young people and areas for
  • further support in implementation,
  • building capacity in staff to provide support, information, and
  • law and guidance.

Further details are contained within the plan which you can access by clicking the link above.

Independent Advice and Guidance

Enquire provide independent and impartial advice for teachers, parents, local authorities and others caring for or working with children and young people with additional support needs.

Enquire have a confidential telephone helpline, website (www.enquire.org.uk) and online enquiry service. Their confidential helpline is available to call Monday to Friday 9am – 4.30pm on 0845 123 2303. Their trained helpline advisers will listen respectfully to your questions and concerns, provide advice on the education and additional support for learning system, (including resolving disagreements) and explain how it affects your situation.

Parents may wish to consult Enquire’s parents’ guide to additional support for learning which outlines parents and your childrens rights, the roles and responsibilities of staff involved with your child, what to expect at meetings and much more.