Glenrothes mum says more must be done to help ASN pupils ahead of protest
and live on Freeview channel 276
ASN Reform Scotland will protest outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, (June 21). The group will call on the Scottish Government to increase funding and improve access to Additional Support Need spaces for their children.
Kirsty Grant from Glenrothes and mother of six-year-old George, will be participating. She praised the mainstream school George attends, but said he is not receiving the support he needs due to lack of funding.
She explained: “It’s a lovely mainstream school and it tries so hard, but its hands are tied with the lack of funding. I know George thrives on one on one, but you can’t get the funding for it. So I feel that I’m failing George and that the education system is failing George which isn’t on the teachers - it’s higher up, it’s the Government with the lack of funding”.
Those concerns are shared by several other mums who found each other on the social media site Tik Tok. Kirsty runs her own Tik Tok account (@grantfamily_georgesvoice), which currently has nearly 5000 followers.
Kirsty explained: “We’re a group of mums who came together through Tik Tok. It was a woman, Stephanie Vavron, who is a creator there who got us together. She’s got a little boy called Max who is autistic and has cerebral palsy. She thought we should come together and plan something. We all decided to protest for change for our kids.
The group is encouraging people to come to the protest to express their experiences of ASN provision, whether positive or negative, and to outline the changes they would like to see.
Kirsty added: “What we’re hoping for is more funding, more Special Educational Needs (SEN) provisions, more adequate training for teachers and Pupil Support Assistants dealing with autistic kids, more spaces.
“There are only 19 schools for SEN placements. That’s not enough for one country. We want to create a blanket of education throughout Local Authorities, so everyone is treated fairly, every child has an equal chance at education”.
The number of pupils identified as having additional support needs has reached a high of 34.2% in the latest round of Scottish Government released stats. In total there are 109 local authority special schools and a further 19 independent schools.
For its part, 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.”