School children requiring additional support needs/special education needs: FOI release

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

Information requested

You asked for: "number of school age children who are formally recorded as having additional support needs/special education needs educated in both mainstream and special schools/units. Require the data between the years 2000 and 2018. Also could you identify the number in the subset of this population diagnosed with autism or related communication difficulties such as Aspbergerā€™s syndrome."


I enclose a copy of the information you requested in Excel format.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) Scotland Act 2004 (as amended) states that a child or young person has an additional support need where they need additional support in order to overcome barriers and benefit from school education. The act also states that education authorities must have arrangements in place to identify pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN) and from among them, those who may require a specific support plan. Education authorities must also be able to identify the reason(s) that additional support is needed.

Information on school pupils with ASN is collected in the annual Pupil Census. It should be noted that the Pupil Census figures do not reflect just the characteristics of pupils but also the type of assessment, reporting and ASN provision provided by schools and local authorities. Therefore caution should be used when making comparisons between the data for different years.

Additionally, the way ASN is recorded in the Pupil Census has changed over time. This means that the data is not comparable year on year and caution should be used when using it as a time series. For details of the methodology used in each year please refer to the footnotes provided in the Excel tables.

Corrections made to the Pupil Census data held by the Scottish Government mean that the figures provided in this response may differ from those published previously.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI-201900002701 - Information Released


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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