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New guidance on support for learning

Widening definitions of groups who need extra support to learn in colleges have prompted the Scottish Executive to issue fresh draft guidance on how best to do it.

The last advice on addressing the needs of students with disabilities came eight years ago and the inclusion and social justice agendas, backed by a raft of recent legislation, have changed the picture.

Ministers are keen to cut the numbers in the NEET group - those not in education, employment or training - and tackle the sizeable numbers of young people who are disaffected and have become disengaged.

Young people face other barriers if they have to look after someone, or are looked after themselves. Some may have offended, have physical of learning disabilities, or mental health or drug problems.

Additional support needs should be viewed as a continuum from relatively mild and temporary conditions to those that are more complex and enduring, the Executive says.

"In some cases the needs of students cannot be met by the college alone.

Many students have individual needs for a range of services including intensive support, therapy, health care and assistance with medication."

Colleges should develop partnerships with key agencies such as local authorities, health services and the voluntary sector.

Spelling out good practice, the Executive notes that Elmwood College in Cupar has been working for four years on one-to-one support to allow autistic students to attend mainstream courses.

At Motherwell College, one named person is appointed to co-ordinate students' support needs.

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