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Chamber and committees

Education, Children and Young People Committee


Additional Support for Learning (ASL)

Background

The Committee has agreed to undertake an inquiry into Additional Support for Learning (ASL). The inquiry will focus on the following themes:

  • the implementation of presumption of mainstreaming, meaning that, where possible, children and young people with additional support needs should be educated in mainstream schools alongside other pupils, rather than in special schools
  • the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on additional support for learning
  • the use of remedies as set out in the Act - these are dispute resolution options that are used when someone wants to dispute whether the provision put in place is adequate to support their child’s additional support needs.

Currently there are 705,874 pupils in public and grant-maintained schools in Scotland. Overall, the number of pupils in 2022 with an identified additional support need (ASN) was 241,639 pupils which represents 34.2% of all pupils. The percentages for mainstream primary and secondary pupils were 28.3% and 40.1% respectively.

The inquiry will consider how the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 has been implemented and how it is working in practice. Inquiries into how laws have worked in practice are known as post legislative scrutiny.

Read the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004

Legislation

Section 15 of the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000, introduced a presumption of mainstreaming for children and young people with ASN except under certain circumstances. Section 15 came into force in force in August 2003.

Read the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000

The main provisions of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 introduced the legal framework for the provision of additional support for learning. The framework meant that, in providing school education, local authorities must identify and then make adequate and efficient provision for the additional support needs of children and young people.

Morgan Review

The Morgan Review was published in 2020. It intended to explore how additional support for learning (ASL) works in practice, across early learning and childcare centres, primary, secondary and special schools (including enhanced provision, services and units).

Read the Morgan Review

In response to the recommendations in the Review, the Scottish Government published an action plan a which set out how the recommendations would be taken forward. It also set up the Additional Support for Learning Project Board to “support the monitoring of implementation and oversee delivery of additional support for learning and inclusion policy, including through delivery of the Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Action Plan and its associated workstreams.”

Read the full role and remit of the Additional Support for Learning Project Board


Your views

The Committee asked to hear views on ASL in Scotland and what people's experiences were.  They wanted to hear from a range of people including parents of children with additional support needs, teachers, support staff, carers, pupils and organisations.

The call for views closed on 31 December 2023.

Read the published responses

Read published responses received in BSL


Oral evidence

The Committee took evidence on this inquiry during the following sessions:

21 February 2024

Read the Official Report for Wednesday 21 February 2024

Supplementary written evidence from UNISON Scotland

28 February 2024

Read the Official report for Wednesday 28 February 2024

Supplementary written evidence from National Autistic Society

6 March 2024

Read the Official Report for Wednesday 6 March 2024

13 March 2024

Read the Official Report for Wednesday 13 March 2024

20 March 2024

Read the Official Report for Wednesday 20 March 2024


Participation

The Committee was keen to speak to people with lived experience of how the the 2004 Act is operating in practice. On 19 February 2024, the Committee held two participation sessions, one with young people and one with parents and carers. The Committee then held a further session with teachers on 4 March 2024. 

 


Report

Read the Committee's report

Watch a BSL interpretation of the Committee's report:


Correspondence


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