Additional Support for Learning Project Board minutes: June 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the Additional Support for Learning Project Board, on 22 June 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Alison Taylor, Scottish Government
  • Matthew Sweeney, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • John Urquhart, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Deborah Lynch, Scottish Government
  • Jan Savage, ENABLE Scotland
  • Jennifer King, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
  • Fran Foreman, Education Scotland
  • Sylvia Haughney, UNISON
  • Sam March, Association of Scottish Principle Educational Psychologists
  • Pauline Beirne, Allied Health Professionals
  • Marion Rutherford, National Autism Implementation Team
  • Louise Long, SOLACE
  • Carol Thorpe, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Robert Eckhart, Scottish Government
  • David Ferguson, Scottish Government
  • Dominic Craig, Scottish Government


  • Laura Caven, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Andrea Bradley, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland
  • Steve Collins, Social Work Scotland
  • Laura Watkins, Grant Aided Special Schools
  • Lorna Johnston, National Autism Implementation Team
  • Billy Anderson, Children in Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Alison Taylor welcomed members to the first meeting of the Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Project Board. Alison recognised members contributions to the preceding group (ASLIG) and thanked Jan Savage for her work in chairing the group, recognising the progress that has been made in recent years.

Additional support for learning project board terms of reference

Members welcomed the opportunity to provide further comments on the terms of reference and role and remit. Members agreed to amend the wording of these documents to ensure that the common purpose of improving outcomes for children and young people is at the forefront. Members agreed to share amended wording with Deborah Lynch by correspondence.

With suggested amendments noted, the group are content with the Terms of Reference and Role and Remit.

The Board also discussed their role in communications and engagement, and in particular how to distil complex messages into something accessible at all levels. The Project Board will consider the best way to present the next iteration of the action plan and alongside this, agree communication around key messages and priorities to ensure consistency. 

Action: Send amendments to the wording of terms of reference / role and remit to Deborah.

Action: Following amendments, the Role and Remit of the Project Board will be published on the Scottish Government (SG) website.

Additonal support for learning network

The Project Board noted that an informal meetings of the ASL Network took place at the end of May to support re-engagement on the ASL action plan. Feedback from this session has been collated and shared with the Board. 

The Project Board were asked to consider any gaps in membership of the network. Members suggested additions to represent transitions into adult life. The Health and Social Care Alliance, Scottish Transitions Forum and People First were suggested. The assosciation of Scottish Principial Educational Psychologists (ASPEP) indicated that they will identify a representative to be included. The Board agreed that membership should be kept under review to ensure a breadth of representation. 

The Project Board considered timing and frequency of Network meetings. The Board agreed that the network will meet twice a year, with the opportunity to meet informally if any urgent issues arise. A date for the first meeting of the network will be identified. The focus of this will be to agree the role and remit. SG will work with Jan as Chair of the network, to develop a draft in advance of the first meeting. It was agreed that further consideration would be given to the timing of these meetings, taking into account, key milestones for the Project Board, such as publication of the action plan in September 2022 and future reporting. 

The Project Board discussed the purpose of the network. It was agreed that communication and engagement is a vital part of their remit. It was also agreed that the network could be used as a forum to gather qualitative information and evidence, feeding into development of the national measurement framework and outcomes measures. It was suggested that the questions used as part of the re-engagement work could be used in future as a way of capturing and sense checking progress to deliver the ASL Action Plan.

Action: SG to explore inviting representatives from People First, Scottish Transitions Forum and Health and Social Care Alliance.

Action: ASPEP to identify a member to represent educational psychologists.

Action: SG and Jan to develop draft role and remit to share with the ASL Network.

Additional support for learning action plan

The Project Board considered the ASL action plan spreadsheet and the feedback received following the circulation of the questions and considered next steps.

It was agreed that it would be helpful for the feedback to be analysed and collated to draw out the key themes. 

The Board agreed that the actions identified in the action plan were broadly the right ones. Education Scotland indicated that they have developed four overarching themes, mapped against national drivers - the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); the Promise and; the Morgan review. It was suggested that the Project Board consider these themes in the development of the next iteration of the action plan. 

The Project Board agreed that more thought must be given to how to ensure continued ambition and commitment to real change to improve outcomes for children and young people. It was noted that the ambition to achieve this is already present within the action plan. However, it is not communicated as well as it could be. The Board agreed that leadership is key to this and there must be continued commitment to engage and share key messages. Alison noted there is a high degree of interest currently around ASL from leaders in SG and this creates opportunities to promote this work.

The Board discussed more creative ways to present the information in the action plan to make it interactive and visual, ensuring it is engaging and accessible for all practitioners. Drawing on learning from the Promise, the Board discussed the possibility of developing a marketing strategy to promote and share this work. The Board noted, however, that it must be mindful of resource and capacity to support the development of this and we should seek to align with connected policy developments and utilise existing social media channels and networks.

The Board agreed that an in-person session will be arranged to allow for further discussion of communication, promotion and agreement of key messages. Consideration will be given to the outcomes of this session and whether it would be beneficial to invite others from outwith the Project Board, for example Joe Griffin, Director General for Education and Justice, to this session. 

Action: Supporting Learners team will continue to analyse/summarise responses to the actions and share with the Board.

Action: Members to contact Deborah if they would like to be involved in developing the in-person session.

Action: ES to consider sharing their paper with the key themes mapped to national drivers.

Any other business

Alison noted a public consultation on the Scottish Government’s draft physical intervention in schools guidance launched this week. This has been shared with the Project Board and members have been asked to share with colleagues and stakeholders to encourage consultation feedback.

Dates for future Project Board meetings will be identified. Work on the action plan will be ongoing within the Project Board through correspondence.

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