Review of additional support for learning implementation: report

Report from an independent review of the implementation of the additional support for learning legislation which began in September 2019 and concluded with the submission of this report and recommendations to Scottish Ministers and COSLA. Executive summary:, Young people’s version:

Approach taken by the Review

The Review has undergone three phases.

Phase 1: Desk Review

August 2019 – September 2019

Analysis of evidence[10] published between 2017-2019, which highlighted key themes and concerns and contributed to shaping Phase 2.

Summary of Conclusions (taken directly from the Desk Review)

The desk review of current evidence has identified a number of common themes about what the strengths and challenges of implementation of additional support for learning are.

The qualitative evidence overwhelmingly suggests that there is a positive perception of the principle of inclusion.

There are a number of themes that have emerged from the evidence considered which focus on the challenges of implementation of additional support for learning. The most common of these are:

  • Resources;
  • Training;
  • Exclusions;
  • Parental involvement – accessibility and visibility of information;
  • Type and access to provision;
  • Access to specialist services and support from other agencies;
  • The importance of partnership working in accessing Co-ordinated Support Plans, and in identification and assessment; and
  • Variation in approach across local authorities.

Other reviews or policy developments, which are significant for the implementation of the ASL legislation, were noted.[11] This was in order to ensure that this Review did not duplicate work already completed or in progress. Where possible, there has been information sharing and collaboration to ensure this Review took into account current and planned developments.

Phase 2: Engagement and Listening

October 2019 - January 2020

The Review Chair took an early decision with the agreement of the Steering Group, to prioritise the time and resource of the Review to hear directly from those most involved and affected by the implementation of the ASL legislation in practice. Considerable efforts were made to engage with children and young people; parents and carers with direct and lived experience; and practitioners, in and beyond education, who are directly involved in the delivery of services. The Review has taken an open and listening approach in order to learn about how children and young people's needs are currently being met. It started with the open question of what is most important from the contributors' perspective.

The focus of the Review within the remit and parameters has been shaped by those responses. Consequently, the main focus is on the experience of children and young people during primary and secondary school years.

Many different people and groups have shared their experiences, perspectives and views through the Chair's email address, in telephone calls and face to face meetings, individually and in groups. Representational, membership and specialist bodies and networks submitted documented comment and analysis. This included summaries following sessions with their members.

The perspective of the agencies and leaders who hold responsibility at a strategic level within the statutory agencies has also been sought and considered within the process.

All contributors were given an assurance of confidentiality and anonymity to enable them to share information confidently and honestly.

Annex B provides an overview of engagement.

Phase 3: Report and Recommendations

February 2020

Taken together, these phases have enabled the Chair to gather evidence, complete analytical work, and reach conclusions to support recommendations for change.

The evidence analysis has additionally been quality assured by an independent associate in order to affirm the validity of the conclusions presented.



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