Additional Support for Learning Project Board minutes: May 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 30 May 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Scottish Government (SG) (CHAIR)
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)
  • Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Education Scotland (ES)
  • Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists (ASPEP)
  • National Autism Implementation Team (NAIT)
  • National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS)
  • ENABLE Scotland
  • ADES Early Years Network
  • Grant Aided Special Schools (GASS)
  • SG Early Learning and Childcare team
  • SG Supporting Learners’ team


  • Public Health Scotland (PHS)
  • Social Work Scotland (SWS)
  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE)
  • Children in Scotland (CiS)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members to the meeting of the Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Project Board. The Chair thanked members who had travelled to attend in person, and those members who were attending virtually. Thanks were passed to COSLA for hosting the meeting.

The Chair welcomed new members from the ADES Early Years Network and ENABLE Scotland to the Project Board.

Minutes from previous meeting

Members considered the draft minute of the meeting of 27 March. No further amendments were suggested, and the minutes were accepted as an accurate record of the meeting. The following updates were provided on the actions agreed at the last meeting.

The Supporting Learners' Team received feedback on the project plan and risk register. These updates were reflected and conversations continue to bring further updates to future Project Board meetings. The Supporting Learners' Team also received interest from members in joining the ASL Project Board sub-groups.

Project plan

The Supporting Learners' Team introduced this item to the Board. The project plan was shared in advance of this meeting.

The Supporting Learners' Team thanked members for their engagement on the project plan since the last meeting. There have been lots of comments and updates provided on the project plan and these changes have been reflected in the paper presented to members. These changes include: the corrections on responsibilities and timeframes of certain actions and the inclusion of links and references where necessary. Moreover, the most recent updates to actions will now appear at the top of each box in the relative column.

It was noted that not every action has an owner assigned to it yet, and some are still without a clear deadline. The project plan is being regularly reviewed and updated and members were encouraged to review those actions, discuss with their teams, and come back to the Supporting Learners’ Team with suggestions for deadlines, priorities and owners.

Questions were raised around why some actions were marked as green (completed) when they could be better marked as ongoing. It was agreed that whilst actions may be ongoing, they have still fulfilled the original ask of the action. It will be noted alongside the action however that it is ongoing, including why and how often it will have to be revisited to ensure it is still on track. It was also noted that there had been updates in the plan that were similar to each other. Clarification was provided that some individual actions respond to more than one recommendation, therefore, they may appear in the plan more than once.

Members were in agreement that the project plan has been a great help in providing a strategic overview of the current position. It is now easier for members to understand where and when contributions are needed. Members also agreed it is helpful to have sight of this overview and progress against each actions at every meeting.

The Chair emphasised the importance in beginning to think about the next stage of the project plan and how we use it most effectively to deliver the actions. Prioritisation of actions must be considered, taking the deadline of actions and the amount of work that might be needed to complete an action, into consideration. It was proposed the newly formed sub-groups would have a role in identifying their highest priority actions and presenting that to the Project Board along with any potential updates or concerns.  A standing item should be added to future Project Board meeting agendas to discuss priority actions.

Education Scotland highlighted that we should continue to think about what actions link with each other, as some underpin the ability to take forward other actions. They also suggested that it would be helpful if more information could be included in the actions, particularly around the end goals and outcomes. It is important that we ask what difference will the action make upon completion and how do we know that it's being done. Evidence of completed actions will be essential in monitoring progress and success. Members agreed, this is the moment to focus on how we ensure that the ongoing work continues improvement for ASL.


  • members to provide updates on the project plan to the Supporting Learners' Team by 23rd June
  • sub-groups to bring identify priority actions to present for discussion at each Project Board meeting

Risk register

The Supporting Learners' Team introduced this item to the Board. The risk register was shared in advance of this meeting.

Members were thanked again for providing comments and updates to the risk register. Some updates have been included in the paper shared with the Board and discussions are still ongoing with individual members to include further updates.

The Supporting Learners' Team have, and continue to work with, other teams within Scottish Government to understand what risks other teams have in place. The purpose of this is to avoid duplication by comparing and contrasting risk registers, opening up discussions on issues vs risks and understanding the reasons for maintaining an up-to-date risk register, are all among the actions that the team have been taking into consideration.

In a similar approach proposed for the project plan, we should begin to introduce a more focused approach when discussing the risk register in the future Project Board meetings. Which risks should we prioritise during these next meetings? Which risks should we focus on and start deep diving into? The Board must also consider how they can best support the owners of each risk. The risk register will continue to be regularly assessed and updated. Members will continue to receive this at every Project Board meeting.

NPFS noted that the risk register is limited from a parent perspective and it was proposed an additional overarching risk could be added for parents. This will be considered and followed up outside of the meeting.

Members were encouraged to continue to engage with the Supporting Learners' Team to provide comments on the risk register. Risks should be connected to actions from the ASL Action Plan; identifying key participants will also help in all mitigation approaches. These comments will always be communicated with the Project Board to ensure we keep a shared understanding of any changes.


  • updates on the risk register to the Supporting Learners' Team by 23rd June

National Measurement Framework

The Supporting Learners' Team introduced this item to the Board. A paper on the National Measurement Framework (NMF) was shared in advance of this meeting.

The Scottish Government, ADES and COSLA have met several times this year to discuss the NMF. There has been a slight refocussing of the framework, to incorporate the ASL legislation and action plan for children with additional support needs. Future work on the NMF will be the responsibility of the Monitoring and Analysis sub-group. The first meeting of this sub-group will take place on the 22 June and further updates will be provided to the Project Board following that meeting.

Concerns had been raised that the NMF could be used as a ranking tool for Local Authorities. Members were reassured that this is not the intention and the intention of the NMF is to support a culture of improvement, in line with the principals set out in the Angela Morgan review. The framework is also not for celebrating individual achievements, but will focus more broadly on a local and national level. Schools may choose to use the NMF at a school level, if they would find it of benefit.

Members thanked the Supporting Learners' Team, ADES and the Chair of the Monitoring and Analysis sub-group, for their update. COSLA noted that it is key that throughout the development of the framework, we are mindful of the different local context and factors which may impact delivery. These need to be both understood and explained. Actions:

  • monitoring and Analysis sub-group to provide update on NMF to the Project Board following their meeting on 22 June
  • comments on the NMF to Supporting Learners' Team and ADES before the sub-group meet on 22 June

ASL Project Board sub-groups

The Chair introduced this item to the Board. No papers were shared.

The Chair reflected on the Board's last meeting, where agreement was reached for each sub-group to form. A Chair for each sub-group had been agreed and thanks were passed onto members who had volunteered to join a sub-group, as well as those who took on Chair responsibility. The Chair invited each sub-group Chair to provide an update to the Board.

The Monitoring and Analysis sub-group, chaired by ADES, has their first meeting scheduled for the 22 June. The sub-group are still trying to broaden membership to ensure different views are captured, and that all sectors are well reflected. The first meeting will confirm final membership and the group's terms of reference. They will take forward the actions allocated to the sub-group and provide the Project Board with updates at each meeting moving forward. It was requested that NPFS, ENABLE Scotland, early learning, education reform and CLD would all be able to provide valuable input in discussions. Chair to consider adding to membership

The Training and Resources sub-group, chaired by Education Scotland, is aiming to hold their first meeting at the end of June. The first meeting will also be used as an opportunity to finalise membership and agree a terms of reference. This group will not be reinventing ideas, they will tap into strong existing resources to assist the delivery of their assigned actions. Membership includes representation from the Education Scotland professional learning team. The sub-group Chair will engage with NPFS to ensure parents views are also represented.

The Operational and Communications sub-group, chaired by COSLA, have been sharing ideas to create a shared understanding of what the sub-group can deliver and should focus on. Initial ideas raised via correspondence have included: audiences, barriers, access of information, how information is communicated and what is being communicated. The sub-group Chair will be attending the ADES ASN sub-group and will ask for a member of that group to join the operational and communications sub-group. The sub-group will look at the terms of reference, building on what the Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group (ASLIG) communications sub-group prepared. UNISON and SG ELC requested to join the sub-group, the Chair will consult the sub-group and confirm their agreement.


  • monitoring and Analysis Chair to consider membership
  • operational and Communications sub-group to consider UNISON and SG ELC representation

Any other business

A meeting of the ASL Network is due in the coming months. An update on the NMF and Project Board sub-groups were identified as potential agenda items. If members have any additional agenda suggestions, they should contact the Supporting Learners' team.

The SG ELC team proposed the Project Board extend its membership to include an ELC represented body. The Co-Chairs of the Project Board agreed to take this away and discuss separately with SG ELC team.


  • members to contact the Supporting Learners' team with ASL Network agenda items
  • chairs to consider ELC representation and follow up with SG ELC team upon coming to a decision

Date of next meeting

The Board will meet next on the 31 July, and in September then November following that.

Scottish Government

June 2023

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