Additional support for learning: implementation in 2017-2018

Details of the implementation of additional support for learning in 2017-2018.


Background and Introduction

This report is intended to set out the picture of implementation of Additional Support for Learning in 2017.  It is framed across the period April 2017-June 2018.  The report uses statistical information to build that picture, and will comment on recent developments in, and related to, additional support for learning.

The Additional Support for Learning Act was established in 2004 and came into practice in 2005.  The Act was revised in 2009 and again in 2016.  The most recent changes came into practice on 10 January 2018.

The 2009 Act places Scottish Ministers under duties to collect and publish information on additional support for learning.  This is done each year, through the national pupil census collection and publication.  From 2010 until 2016 Scottish Ministers reported to Parliament on the implementation of additional support for learning.  This report follows on from that, but is not required by law.


2017 has been a significant year in education.  The proposals for Education reform in Scotland were published for consultation and contained a suite of proposals to achieve excellence and equity for all of our children and young people in a highly performing education system.  In June 2018 it was announced that through consensus building and collaboration that an agreement with local government was reached on implementation of two key elements of the reform agenda

  • a Joint Agreement on Regional Improvement Collaboratives with regional leadership, collaboration with Education Scotland and initial regional improvement plans in place and more detailed plans due in September – all achieved at pace, in partnership and with no legislation; and
  • a landmark agreement which will see the Headteachers’ Charter and meaningful school empowerment, collaboration and pupil and parent participation happening across Scotland this year.  

2017 and 2018 have seen the publication of National Improvement Framework plans.  The National Improvement Framework structure has been adopted as that for the Doran Review 10 Year Strategy.  It is intended that this alignment will ensure that the work on the implementation of the Doran Review, and in particular the work on Strategic Commissioning of services will complement the outcomes sought through the Improvement Plan.

Attainment Challenge and Pupil Equity Funding is focussed towards closing the poverty related attainment gap.  The Scottish Attainment Challenge focusses and accelerates targeted improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in specific areas of Scotland.

The £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund is a targeted initiative focused on supporting pupils in the local authorities of Scotland with the highest concentrations of deprivation.

 The nine 'Challenge Authorities' are Glasgow, Dundee, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire, North Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.

Pupil Equity Funding is also provided through the Attainment Scotland Fund and allocated directly to schools, targeted at those children most affected by the poverty related attainment gap.  A significant number of children and young people with additional support needs also benefit from these approaches to closing the attainment gap.

2018 was the Year of Young People in Scotland and provided an opportunity for generations to come together and celebrate our nation’s young people.  The extension of children’s rights under the Additional Support for Learning Act demonstrates the Scottish Government commitments to hearing the voice of young people, and enabling them to work in partnership with us to design and shape policy.  This commitment to engaging with children and young people will extend beyond 2018.



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