Additional Support for Learning review action plan: second progress report

Progress report from the Scottish Government and COSLA providing an update on work undertaken since November 2021 and summarising the actions to be taken to deliver the recommendations from the review of implementation of additional support for learning.

Leadership & Improvement

There are several longer term pieces of work covered within this theme that, taken together, will improve the support offered to children and young people in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has re-established the Code of Practice working group, which met in July 2022, to discuss the next steps. We are working with partners to update the guidance and ensure it fully supports schools and local authorities to fulfil their duties under the 2004 Act. We aim to improve accessibility for different audiences and ensure language consistency and alignment with key policies and practices. The update will take account of the refresh of the GIRFEC Policy and Practice Guidance as well as ensure cognisance and alignment with other key pieces of work such as The Promise Implementation Plan, the incorporation of UNCRC and the development of the National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy.

The review of the use of co-ordinated support plans (CSP) undertaken by the short-life working group sets out clearly the actions that should be taken to minimise the barriers to implementation of CSPs.

The actions identified by the working group will be taken forward alongside broader work set out within this action plan to enhance implementation of additional support for learning. In addition to work to refresh the Supporting Learners' Code of Practice, further work will be undertaken to develop and provide access to a suite of national relationship based professional learning approaches and resources applicable to education and multiagency partners.

This work will align to work being undertaken elsewhere, including development of a national measurement framework.

Since November 2021, the National Measurement sub group has been working to develop a draft framework. The draft National Measurement Framework has been informed by the Young Ambassadors' vision statement for success. A set of aims, aligned to UNCRC and structured around the four principles of Inclusion (present, participating, achieving, supported) have been agreed by the sub-group and members identified a comprehensive set of desired changes, which were reviewed and accepted by the Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group. The sub group have considered specific sources of evidence required and actions to ensure that there is a mechanism to recognise and celebrate the successes and achievements of children and young people.

Further refinements to the framework will now be undertaken to ensure that it aligns with, and recognises other tools and activity underway to measure outcomes for children and young people. This will include engagement with local authorities and consideration of options to test this new approach within a sample of authorities.

"Linking all of the elements of policy and practice together was incredibly helpful and helps everyone makes sense of what we need to do and then evaluate against that."

Participant at an Education Scotland awareness raising session

Following the development of the national measurement framework, the Project Board will work with children and young people and their families to co-create an annual report to highlight the range of successes and achievements of children and young people. In addition, the ASL Project Board will engage with children, young people, parents and carers to consider further opportunities to present accessible and meaningful information on achievement in a creative and engaging way.

The Scottish Government is also working with partners on the National Strategic Commissioning Group to develop a pilot to enhance the Headship leadership programmes with content on supporting children and young people with complex additional support needs and placements in special schools. The pilot is due to run in the 2023-24 academic year.

In addition, the Scottish Government will engage the Grant-Aided Special Schools to develop positive case studies of prevention and de-escalation to support implementation of the new national guidance on physical intervention in schools.

The Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research has recently been commissioned. Fieldwork will be undertaken in early 2023, initial findings are due in Autumn 2023 and the final report is due in Spring 2024. At the conclusion of this research, the ASL Project Board will work with SAGRABIS to consider the evidence from the report and agree any actions to be taken forward.

The national discussion to develop a vision for the future of education in Scotland launched on 21 September 2022. Extensive engagement is planned with children and young people with additional support needs.

The national discussion is co-convened by COSLA and Scottish Government and is open to everyone and will help shape the future of Scottish education. The discussion seeks to find out; what works well, what we have learned about our systems and what comes next to help all children and young people thrive.

The National Discussion team is committed to ensuring the voices of those who haven't been heard loudly in the past are the main focus of its work. The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion will be involved in this and Scottish Government officials will continue to engage as this work develops to ensure that the views of children and young people with additional support needs, their families and those who support them are reflected within the national discussion work.

The Accounts Commission published a blog on additional support for learning in May 2022. This highlighted the Commission's concerns that support for children and young people who need additional support for learning is not always available as it should be, and about the inequalities in outcomes for these children and young people. Audit Scotland is continuing to focus on additional support for learning and will take account of the review's recommendations in the scope of any audit work the Auditor General or Accounts Commission decide to undertake.

At the conclusion of any Audit Scotland work in this area, COSLA and the Scottish Government will consider any outcomes and recommendations which are made.



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