Pupils with additional needs are not receiving the support they need to succeed at school because the staff required simply are not there.
Analysis by the Scottish Greens has revealed that the number of specialist Additional Support Needs (ASN) teachers has fallen for the fifth year in a row, while the number of children with identified additional needs has increased by over 65,000 in the same period.
This has resulted in the ratio of young people with additional support needs to specialist ASN teachers trebling in just seven years, reaching the highest level since new laws came in to ensure support in 2010, a situation the Greens say is “completely unacceptable”.
Answers to Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP from Education Secretary John Swinney reveal that the number of pupils being identified with an additional need has risen dramatically, while the number of specialist teachers has declined.
In 2010, each specialist ASN teacher was supporting 18 pupils; by last year the figure had trebled to 55.
Since being elected in 2016, Ross Greer has consistently championed investment in Additional Support Needs, and led a Holyrood debate on the issue.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“Pupils with additional needs are not receiving the support they need to succeed at school because the staff required simply are not there. The Scottish Government needs to get to grips with this failure, and increase funding to our schools.
"It is completely unacceptable to see the number of specialist additional support needs teachers decline year-on-year while the number of pupils being identified with additional needs increases. Losing over a hundred full-time-equivalent staff in the last year is a disaster. If the Scottish Government is serious about the mantra of Getting It Right for Every Child and if it is serious about closing the poverty-related attainment gap, then it must transform the funding provided to local councils so they can employ the specialist staff our young people need."
Figures for 2010-2017:
Pupils with ASN: 69,587 / 98,523 / 118,034 / 131,621 / 140,542 / 153,192 / 170,329 / 183,491
ASN Teachers (FTE): 3,887 / 3,836 / 3,840 / 3,767 / 3,563 / 3,506 / 3,459 / 3,358
Pupils per Teacher: 18 / 26 / 31 / 35 / 39 / 44 / 49 / 55