John Swinney’s evasion of the issue will find no favour in staff rooms up and down the country.Ross Greer MSP
Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP today (23 May) took the Deputy First Minister to task over the crisis in Additional Support Needs in schools and the Scottish Government’s evasive response.
Data recently published by Mr Greer shows that since 2010 the number of specialist ASN teachers has fallen from one for every eighteen pupils to one for every fifty-five.
During today's Education Committee, Ross challenged Education Secretary John Swinney to justify a previous Scottish Government statement that it was ‘inaccurate’ to highlight the fall in ASN specialist teachers, despite this being the undisputed reality. He further pressed the Deputy First Minister to justify why the Scottish Government is shifting this burden onto already overstretched classroom teachers, who do not and should not be expected to have the broad range of specialist skills required to support young people with often complex and varied additional needs.
Mr Swinney replied that it was appropriate that "a broader range of staff" supported these pupils.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“Pupils with additional needs are not receiving the support they need to succeed at school - that is clear from the staff-to-pupil ratio and clear from the evidence the Education committee took during its own inquiry. John Swinney’s evasion of the issue will find no favour in staff rooms up and down the country.
"It's bad enough that the number of ASN teachers is falling while the number of pupils needing support is rising, but on top of that we have a government utterly distracted by unwanted structural changes to the way our schools are run. Teachers, parents, trade unions and councils do not believe the proposed changes will address real problems around workload and staffing, particularly in areas such as Additional Support Needs.
"I will continue to press Scottish Ministers to change direction."