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:

Evidence heard by the Review: balancing perspectives

The Review was initiated due to the widespread acceptance that not all children and young people are flourishing, and that the legislation and implementation have not achieved all aims. Therefore it was anticipated, that the broad engagement process of the Review would be dominated by concerns and negative experiences. This proved to be the case.

There were also examples of excellent practice, dedicated professionals, loving families and thriving children and young people. However, there were too many stories of struggle and shortfalls; frustration, anxiety and stress for children and young people and their families. Frontline practitioners, and those directly supporting them, told similar stories.

Poor experiences do motivate people to speak out. However, the responses received affirm that the very complex challenges of meaningful inclusion and meeting additional support needs are a work in progress in Scotland.

Many across the contributor groups have welcomed the Review as an opportunity to be listened to. However, some stakeholders have expressed scepticism about the value of the Review and have chosen not to participate. This highlights a strong theme expressed from all perspectives about the need for trust, confidence and being heard.

The Review has, in the light of this, focused on considering, understanding and respecting how the perspectives of children and young people, parents, carers and professionals either differ or coincide and why.

Themes that have been dominant and consistent across all the perspectives (children and young people, parents and carers and professionals) have been noted and analysed. There were different views on origins and solutions. Where there are fundamental differences, these have been clarified.

Against this background, the report does not highlight or showcase either poor or excellent practice. Instead, the report seeks to draw out themes from this evidence and make recommendations that will drive changes in implementation in practice.

The themes of the narrative are interlinked and interconnected. There were significant underpinning issues, which have become so embedded and assumed that they are difficult to see. These were identified, highlighted and analysed.

Three broader frameworks of thinking about public services have also been referenced where relevant:

  • Implementation and Improvement Methodology;[12]
  • Early Intervention and Prevention;[13] and
  • Kindness in Public Services.[14]

Firstly, however, it is essential to ground what follows in this report in the experiences of children and young people.



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