Additional Support for Learning Project Board minutes: October 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 26 October 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Laura Caven, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Alison Taylor, Scottish Government
  • John Urquhart, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Jan Savage, ENABLE Scotland
  • Scott Mulholland, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
  • Vikki Bruce, Scottish Government
  • Fran Foreman, Education Scotland
  • Laura Watkins, Grant Aided Special Schools
  • Lorna Johnston, National Autism Implementation Team
  • Sam March, Association of Scottish Principle Educational Psychologists
  • Cheryl Burnett, National Parent Forum Scotland
  • Marion Rutherford, National Autism Implementation Team
  • Anne Keenan, Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Yasmin Ali, Scottish Government
  • Robert Eckhart, Scottish Government
  • David Ferguson, Scottish Government


  • Laura-Ann Currie, Education Scotland
  • Steve Collins, Social Work Scotland
  • Sylvia Haughney, UNISON
  • Billy Anderson, Children in Scotland
  • Elaine Cargill, Allied Health Professionals
  • Louise Long, SOLACE

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Laura Caven welcomed new members to the Project Board: Scott Mulholland representing the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES); Anne Keenan representing Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and Vikki Bruce from Scottish Government with a focus on early learning and childcare.

Minutes from previous meeting

Members were presented with a set of minutes from the groups previous meeting in June. These minutes were agreed and published on the Project Board’s website. The group provided updates on the actions agreed at the last meeting.

Comments were received for the role and remit and terms of reference. Following updating the role and remit with those comments, it was published on the Project Board's website.

Membership for the network is still a work in progress, colleagues will continue to reach out to different organisations. The Association of Scottish Principle Educational Psychologists (ASPEP) will confirm their representation following this meeting. Role and remit for the network has been developed and shared with Project Board for comment.

Supporting Learners' Team have taken on comments and provided an updated version of the action plan at today's meeting. Education Scotland will follow up and consider sharing the paper around key themes mapped to national drivers.

Additional support for learning action plan update

Alison expressed leaders in Scottish Government (SG) have taken a very keen interest in the additional support for learning (ASL) action plan and see it as a high priority area to make progress in. There has been an emphasis on how we take the objectives and ambitions set out in the plan and ensure they materialise into a reality.

Members acknowledged the work that’s has gone into progressing the action plan and agree good progress has been made. It was noted there was little objective data included that could demonstrate impact of the actions, and that could perhaps be an addition that would strengthen the plan for the next iteration. It was noted that members should all consider any work that links into the actions, and then draw out examples of effective practice to support the next action plan update.

The action plan is long and covering every action in one meeting would be challenging. It was suggested an in person session take place to focus in on a few key actions and generate discussions on them. Members agreed to this proposal, a meeting will take place early in 2023. It was proposed the invite get extended to Audit Scotland to provide them the opportunity to attend and engage with the Project Board at the early stages of the next iteration.

Members also suggested creating a risk register and project planner, ensuring the Board were all sighted on the most urgent actions needing considered and that we are on track with deadlines. The Board agreed it would be beneficial to carve out time on the agenda for the next meeting to consider the main risks to the ASL action plan, ideally as a workshop to allow members to conduct a deep dive to identify and agree appropriate mitigations. It was acknowledged that a degree of offline engagement may be necessary in order to support this discussion. The Board were reminded that the next reporting period will be in March 2024, and the deadline for completion is 2026.  A standing item will be placed on future Project Board meetings to focus on high risk actions, seeking updates and comments from members. 

Members agreed there would be value in creating an additional accessible version for parents, children and young people.

Text will be agreed via correspondence to send out to networks and organisations promoting the publication of the action plan. Members will contact the Supporting Learners’ Team with a list of networks they have reached out to, giving a clear view of where the information has reached.

Subject to amendments made from comments received by members through correspondence, the Board are content for publication.


  • members to send final comments on the action plan to Supporting Learners' Team by Friday 28th October.
  • Supporting Learners’ Team to arrange for an accessible version of the report for parents, children and young people to be published.
  • Supporting Learners’ Team to discuss development of a risk register and project planner.
  • Supporting Learners Team to add the risk workshop to the agenda for the next meeting and engage with members offline as required in preparation for the discussion.
  • extend in-person meeting invite to Audit Scotland.
  • ASL action plan promotional text to be agreed via correspondence.

Communications and engagement

The Chair reflected on the sub-group for communications and engagement the preceding group, the additional support for learning implementation group (ASLIG,) had in place, and asked members to consider if it should continue. There was agreement that the sub-group should form, with emphasis that the right networks should be considered and included. John Urquhart from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) expressed interest in joining the sub-group, other members were encouraged to consider if they would be interested in joining this sub-group. It was suggested we incorporate a list of Project Board workstreams and their purpose into the project planner.

The sub-group for comms and engagement being progressed would help meet many objectives in the action plan, including those around parental engagement.

The National Discussion was raised, Jan noticed from a view on social media there had been no specific voice noted for pupils with additional support needs. Alison and Laura were happy to pick this up outside the meeting.


  • members to contact Supporting Learners’ Team if they are interested in joining the sub-group for communications and engagement.
  • Alison and Laura to follow up on the National Discussion.

Additional support for learning Network

The Project Board considered the proposed ASL Network terms of reference (ToR).

It was agreed the ToR began to clarify the purpose of the Network clearly. It was noted however that the ToR states the Network has oversight over communications and engagement, wording would be amended to read oversight sits with the Project Board, and the Network have a role of contributing to it. Wording was also agreed to specify their role in discussing issues that impact implementation.

It was made clear the membership is not final, and that we are still seeking to bring in wide ranging representation from new groups and organisations. Anne Keenan offered to sit on the Network to represent EiS, and Vikki Bruce too offering a view for early learning and childcare. A final date for the next meeting is yet to be agreed, but it is intended to be held in November.

The Board were content the ToR is in a good place and noted there will be opportunities to review and amend within the Network however often is needed. Members were given a deadline to provide any additional comments to Supporting Learners’ Team on the ToR. They are content it be presented to the Network with the opportunity for them to provide comments.


  •  ASPEP will confirm their representation following this meeting.
  • members to send final comments on the ToR to Supporting Learners’ Team by Friday 11th November.

Next steps

The Chair rounded up and summarised discussions and actions agreed during the meeting. An email will be sent to members to confirm deadlines for comments on the ASL action plan and the ASL Network ToR.

 Any other business 

 Supporting Learners team will canvass meeting dates for the next year, including the proposed in-person meeting.

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