A damning report on the state of additional support needs education in Scotland has been snuck out by the Scottish Government.
The review, led by Angela Morgan OBE, was published on Friday without any press announcement, with Education Secretary John Swinney telling Parliament’s Education Committee that the Government will respond to the report in the autumn.
The report found that austerity budget cuts were ‘clearly the most powerful driver in shaping the current reality of implementation.’ This follows an investigation by the Scottish Greens which found that the number of Additional Support Needs teachers has fallen by over a thousand in the last decade, with now just one qualified ASN teacher for every 76 young people with diagnosed additional needs.
The review also recommends the Scottish Government implement the Scottish Green Party policy of making Additional Support for Learning a ‘promoted post’ within teaching, attracting more teachers into the specialism.
Responding, Scottish Green education spokesperson Ross Greer said:
“This review has confirmed our worst fears, that many of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people are being traumatised by the repeated failure to meet their needs at school. It also acknowledges the enormous pressure staff are under, especially with an increasing lack of specialist teachers and assistants.
“I have led calls for a transformation in how children with additional needs are supported but I was willing to accept the delay in publishing this report given the circumstances. To have it snuck out on a Friday without a normal announcement though is downright unacceptable.
“Many pupils with additional support needs have found the lockdown extremely challenging. They deserve so much better than a return to the ‘old normal’ which failed them so badly. This report endorses Green proposals which I have repeatedly put to the Education Secretary in recent years. The Government should implement them as quickly as possible and end the traumatising experience which so many children with additional needs go through at school.”