Learning provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs: 10-year strategy 2017-2026

Scottish Government's long-term strategy for providing 'the right help at the right time in the right place'.

What are "complex additional support needs"?

Complex additional support needs may arise as result of:

  • the severity of one or more factors resulting in need, and/or
  • the combined impact of a number of separate factors, one or more of which may be severe.

A rigorous, clearly bounded and universally accepted definition is extremely difficult to formulate because of the multiplicity of factors and the impact of specific contexts in different local authorities. For that reason the National Strategic Commissioning Group ( NSCG) is using a working description rather than a definition of children and young people with complex additional support needs:

1. Those in receipt of a Co-ordinated Support Plan as defined in the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009, i.e. where: -

a. an education authority are responsible for the school education of the child or young person,

b. the child or young person has additional support needs arising from-

i. one or more complex factors, or

ii. multiple factors,

c. those needs are likely to continue for more than a year, and

d. those needs require significant additional support to be provided-

i. by the education authority in the exercise of any of their other functions as well as in the exercise of their functions relating to education, or

ii. by one or more appropriate agencies (within the meaning of section 23(2)) as well as by the education authority themselves.

2. Children and young people aged 3-18 who do not have a co-ordinated support plan but who have been assessed as stage 3 or 4 by a local authority under a staged intervention model as recommended by the Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice.

3. Children and young people aged 3-18 who attend a grant aided or independent special school.


Email: Deborah Walker

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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