New tools for teachers and councils to assist learners.
Councils and teachers are being given extra help to improve outcomes for young people with additional support needs.
The Scottish Government’s new guidance on mainstreaming provides clear, updated information to help decide the best learning environment for a young person. For the first time, it includes a Scottish definition of inclusion and practical guidance to deliver inclusion in schools.
The move comes as Deputy First Minister John Swinney committed to ensuring teachers have the support they require to help pupils with additional support needs, without creating undue workload.
Education Scotland has also developed online training for teachers on providing additional support to children who need it, as part of a suite of free professional learning resources for all staff.
199,065 young people are identified as having additional support needs, this is 28.7 per cent of all Scottish pupils. All teachers provide support to children and young people.
Research on the learning experiences of young people with additional support needs has also been published, which shows pupils at both mainstream and special schools generally felt positive about their experience. Almost all pupils felt their needs were well met, and while parents were also positive about the support their children received, many said it had taken a long time to get their child into the right environment.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“All young people deserve the same opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential.
“Our world-leading approach to inclusion is a key strength of our education system, but we know there is room to improve the experience of inclusion for all children. And, we know that to deliver for pupils, we also have to support teachers and school staff, avoiding undue workload.
“Mainstreaming is a central pillar of our inclusive approach to education and the introduction of a Scottish definition of inclusion for the first time reinforces our commitment to Getting it Right for Every Child.”
“Teachers and local authorities are key partners in delivering this approach and ensuring every child has the most suitable learning environment for their needs. This guidance provides improved methods to assess needs, and help young people and signposts actions to further support inclusion, informed by the latest research.”
COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People, Councillor Stephen McCabe, said:
“We are pleased that the research published today shows that many children and young people with additional support needs and their parents interviewed were positive about the support they receive and felt their needs were being met. COSLA welcomes the publication of revised guidance which aims to support local authorities to work with children, their families and partners to get it right for every child. We will continue the work already in train to build on the good practice that exists across Scotland’s local authorities in supporting children, young people and their families. We also look forward to working constructively with Scottish Government and stakeholders on the recently announced Independent Review of Additional Support for Learning.”
Jan Savage, ENABLE Scotland Director of External Affairs, said:
“Two years ago, ENABLE Scotland’s award-winning #IncludED in the Main?! campaign gathered the views of more than 800 pupils, parents, teachers and school staff which highlighted the need for guidance that goes beyond the right to be present in a mainstream school to the right to be genuinely included.
“We have worked closely with the Scottish Government to develop this new guidance on the presumption of mainstreaming, and warmly welcome its focus on equitable opportunities for every pupil who has a learning disability to participate fully in all aspects of school life.
“We are encouraged that it is complemented by training resources for the education workforce and a commitment to continue to listen to and learn from the voices of experience as we take the next steps on the journey to inclusion for every pupil.”
The Programme for Government 2018-19 commits the Scottish Government to take action to secure more positive experiences for those receiving support, by working with local government to:
- improve consistency of support across Scotland, through improved guidance
- build further capacity to deliver effective additional support
- improve career pathways and professional development, including new free training resources for school staff on inclusive practices
This work addresses directly the first two commitments.
Statistics on pupils in Scottish schools with Additional Support Needs come from Summary Statistics for Schools.