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:

Review findings and how to read this report


The sections which follow, are divided into themes.

One of the main challenges of this Review process has been to excavate and disentangle these themes. They are at the root of why not all children and young people are flourishing as the legislation intended.

These themes have become embedded, assumed and are often hidden. The headline conclusions under these themes are shaped directly by the Review's priority focus on those involved in direct implementation: children and young people, parents and carers, school and other professionals at the frontline of delivery. The intention is to maintain focus on the impact of each of these themes in practice.

The overarching experience they shared with the Review is characterised by:

1. A significant disconnect between experience and the stated aspirations of the legislation and policy.

2. Challenges in being able to respond to the needs of children and young people with additional support needs. It is dominating the focus and the time of many school leadership teams and specialist service managers, but this is not consistently or sufficiently recognised and understood at senior management and planning levels.

3. Not all children, young people and the professionals who are committed to supporting them to flourish, are valued at an equal level within the education system. This is strongly reinforced by the pressures of the focus on Attainment.

4. Children and young people and the parents, carers and professionals working closest to them all express frustration at not being listened to by people within the system who they perceive to have the power to act or make changes.

5. A range of other strategic and operational factors are influencing, and are symptomatic of, the disconnect between the aspiration and objectives of the legislation and the reality of implementation.

Shaping this report into themes is an endeavour to unpick and examine these factors, but it must be emphasised that they are interlinked and enmeshed.

It is understandable that readers of this report will focus on the themes that appear to be of most relevance to their involvement and experience. However, the Chair would urge all who have an interest in this issue to read all the themes, as they are so interconnected.

The landscape is complex and will continue to be so. The unique opportunity this Review presents is to make that complexity visible, to establish an agreed baseline for positive action and to prioritise and energise a critical area of public life.



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