Breakdown of pupil support assistants in 2017: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/02357 
Date received: 29 August 2018  
Date responded: 14 September 2018
Information requested
  • Confirm if the categories of “additional support needs auxiliary or care assistant” or “classroom assistant” have been replaced by the new category of “pupil support assistant” in the July 2018 release, and if any other category has been replaced by the new category of “pupil support assistant”
  • Provide a breakdown of how many “additional support needs auxiliary or care assistants” and “classroom assistants” there were in 2017, again broken down by primary, secondary, special, and centrally employed and by local authority.

Processing and quality assurance of the statistics on school support staff for 2017 has been brought into line with procedures for National Statistics on pupils and teachers. These procedures have improved the accuracy, reliability, coherence and comparability of the statistics. In particular, there is now greater standardisation of terms and definitions between schools and local authorities. There has also been a review of support staff categories in consultation with local authority education representatives and Scottish Government officials with responsibility for support and wellbeing in schools. This resulted in a new category termed “Pupil support assistant”. This category combines the previous “Additional support needs auxiliary or care assistant” and “Classroom assistant” categories and better reflects policy and provision in schools. This additional quality assurance work on the 2017 data means that the statistics are not directly comparable with previous years.

The breakdown you requested is included in the spreadsheet below.  The additional quality assurance carried out on this data suggests that in some local authorities the distinction between these categories is arbitrary.  The total figure for pupil support assistants is a much more reliable indicator of the number of staff supporting pupils in the classroom. 

About FOI
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foi-18-02357 - Support staff


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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