'Disgraceful' Scottish education system fails additional support needs pupils
and live on Freeview channel 276
Hundreds came together on Wednesday to share their personal experiences with the crowd gathered at Holyrood and to call on the Scottish Government to increase funding provision.
Kirsty Grant from Glenrothes was one of the parents who organised the event. She said that teachers had the backing of the group, and that funding provision was their main concern. She said: “We are here to support the teachers at the mainstream schools because they are so stretched with funding and that funding is just getting lower, and we need it to be in place so our kids can get more support”.
Nikki Taylor, a mum from Edinburgh dubbed ASN provisions in Scotland’s schools “disgraceful”.
Nikki said: “We’re here to fight for ASN reform in Scotland. The education system is absolutely disgraceful when it comes to ASN provisions. They’ve cut funding. They’ve cut teachers' budgets, so it means teachers aren’t being educated as well. There aren't enough special educational needs (SEN) provision places for kids who require them, and there isn’t enough support for kids who require support in mainstream education”.
Amanda Taylor from Edinburgh attended with her son Callum, who was diagnosed with autism aged 17. She struggled to get support for him until his diagnosis, and has now trained as a pupil support assistant (PSA) in the hope she can help others in Callum’s situation.
Amanda Taylor: “I went into training to become a PSA and I worked in an additional needs school for part of my placement, to help other children. That’s my ambition now, to get more people trained like I’ve done so they can help children in the school setting. Because right now there’s not enough funding, there’s not enough people getting trained to help these kids”.
Pam Duncan-Glancy was one MSP who came out to support the group. The Glasgow-region politician said children with additional support needs are being “set up to fail”.
She added: “We will not allow that to happen, Scottish Labour have your back. I will make every possible representation I can make to make sure they understand how big a problem it is. Last week the committee I sit on heard that in 2008 there were 85 children with additional support needs per education psychologist. In 2020, that figure was more than 600”.
The Scottish Government said funding for additional support has reached a record high of £830 million in 2021/22, plus additional funding of £45 million since 2019/20 and over £11 million directly to pupils with complex additional support needs.
A spokesperson said: “We know that the number of pupils identified with additional support needs has increased substantially since 2010. This has been driven by a change to how ASN statistics were gathered in 2010 and, of course, in more children being diagnosed.
“It is for local councils to determine the most appropriate educational provision, taking account of their legal responsibilities and the individual circumstances the children and young people in their care. Notwithstanding, the Education Secretary would be happy to meet with ASN Reform Scotland to discuss their concerns.”