Publication - Factsheet

Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group: newsletter - September 2021

Published: 30 Sep 2021
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education

A newsletter from the Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group.

Published:
30 Sep 2021
Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group: newsletter - September 2021

Welcome and introductions

The Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group (ASLIG) works collaboratively to provide advice to the Scottish Government and Scottish ministers on key issues relating to the implementation of the additional support for learning framework. The group has a clear focus on continued improvement, seeking to ensure that every child and young person in Scotland gets the support they need, when they need it. 

Since the summer of 2020, our biggest job is working to make sure that work happens across Scottish Government, COSLA and partners in education and other sectors to deliver the recommendations of the Independent Review of Additional Support for Learning (ASL), completed by Angela Morgan in 2020.

ASLIG has produced this newsletter as one of the ways to keep you up to date with our work. You can also access information about the group and our meetings at the links below. 

We welcome any feedback on the work of the group and the contact details for getting in touch are below.

Meet the group

  • Jan Savage, Enable Scotland (Chair)
  • Jennifer King, Association of Directors of Education Scotland
  • Eddie Folan and John Urquhart, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Laura Watkins, Grant Aided Special Schools representative
  • Lynne Binnie, The Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists
  • Andrea Bradley, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Sylvia Haughey, UNISON
  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland
  • Cheryl Burnett, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland
  • Pauline Beirne, Children and Young People Allied Health Professionals Lead
  • Steve Collins, Social Work Scotland
  • Scottish Government Supporting Learners’ Team (Learning Directorate) policy leads

Marion Rutherford and Lorna Johnston from the National Autism Implementation Team are also providing input.

Introduction from the chair, Jan Savage

It has been my privilege to chair ASLIG into a new chapter of impact and influence. With gratitude to the group members of our predecessor AGASL and with their continued support, this group is fully committed to making sure that the legislation is used as intended to improve the outcomes and experiences of every child in Scotland who has an additional support for learning need, their families, and the staff working with them. It is a team effort.

ASLIG works collaboratively to provide advice to Scottish Government, the Scottish Education Council and Scottish ministers on key issues relating to the implementation of Additional Support for Learning.

We have a lot to do – but as a group, we will now bring clear focus on continued improvement, with a view to giving advice and making recommendations to make sure that every child and young person gets the support they need, when they need it, in order to flourish as individuals and to be ready to take on the world when they leave school! 

How we work together

ASLIG brings together colleagues representing key organisations for frank and open, evidence-led discussion about implementation of additional support for learning - what is working well and where action or improvement is required.

The group will make recommendations to the Scottish Education Council (once it is meeting again) on key actions to ensure continued effective implementation of additional support for learning by:

  • providing leadership and advice to develop a strategic approach and vision for improvement
  • having a primary focus on implementation of additional support for learning, aligning to wider partnership issues as and when required, in particular, Getting it Right for Every Child and the empowerment of school staff
  • developing improvement priorities and ensuring those priorities are reflected at a national, local and regional level

How often we meet

The group meets formally every quarter. We also sometimes meet if we need to discuss a specific issue. 

Impact of Covid

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of our lives. It is now as important as ever that we continue to strive to make sure that all children and young people with additional support needs get the support that they need at school to succeed and achieve. 

The work of the group has been impacted by Covid, but we have continued to meet throughout the pandemic to progress the Additional Support for Learning Action Plan. 

In addition to contributing to guidance to support children and young people with additional support needs during Covid, as we move forward, the group will be considering the impact of the pandemic on children who have additional support for learning needs, informed by evidence available to us. 

What we are doing

Additional support for learning review

In 2019, informed by recommendations from ASLIG, the Deputy First Minister asked Angela Morgan to carry out a review of implementation of additional support for learning. Angela reported her findings to Scottish Ministers and COSLA in February 2020. The final report was published in June 2020. 

The review team engaged with a range of people and groups seeking to identify good practice and areas for further improvement in the ways that children and young people with additional support needs progress in their learning. This included engagement with children and young people, parents and carers, school staff and other professionals and ASLIG. 

Following publication of the ASL Review, the Scottish Government, COSLA and ADES considered the findings of the review and agreed actions to address the recommendations made. The joint action plan was published in October 2020, and sets out the range of measures that will be taken to enhance implementation of additional support for learning. 

Over the pandemic, ASLIG members have worked together to take forward a number of key measures within the action plan.

Measuring achievement – a fresh approach

An initial task has involved developing a meaningful national measurement framework which seeks to recognise the breadth of achievement and success of children and young people. 

ASLIG members produced an overview of existing measures and identified gaps and limitations with existing data. ASLIG has now commissioned our partners at the National Autism Implementation Team to produce a new draft measurement framework for Scotland’s additional support needs pupils. 

Completion of this will be a priority for the group moving into 2022.

Delivering the action plan

ASLIG is also overseeing progress made against the whole action plan and we will produce a report on progress in the first year by October 2021. 

This will be separate to the Scottish Government and COSLA’s own report on the progress they have made.

Further information can be found on the additional support for learning review section on the Scottish Government website.

Led by young people - inclusion ambassadors

The independent ASL Review recommended that a new vision statement for success for children and young people should be developed.

ASLIG asked the Young Ambassadors for Inclusion to create a vision statement for success for children and young people and to advise how this statement could be shared with other children and young people.

The group has been working on this during their meetings this year, and the new vision statement for success was published in August 2021.

How to get in touch with the group

ASLIG members are proud of how many parents and carers, young people, and education staff and stakeholders engaged with the Independent Review of ASL.

It is important to us that we continue to keep in touch as we move forward on this journey.

This newsletter is a part of that – please do share with anyone you think will be interested!

ASLIG has their own web page with minutes from our meetings and other relevant information.

The Scottish Government provide Secretariat support to ASLIG. If you want to get in touch with a member of the Supporting Learners’ Team, you can contact us by email: supportinglearners@gov.scot.

Further information or support

Parents and carers

Enquire provides advice and information about additional support for learning legislation and guidance for families and professionals, helps families find local education and support services and shares practical tips to help families and schools work together and solve problems should they arise.

Children and young people

Enquire also produces information with and for children and young people. This service is called Reach.

Here you can find information on a range of different topics, including rights to additional support at school. 

Professionals

If you are a professional, you can find information, guidance and a range of professional learning opportunities on Education Scotland’s National Improvement Hub.