There’s no slack in ASN funding

18th December 2015 at 00:00

Scottish Government figures indicating that 22.5 per cent of pupils in Scottish schools are recorded as having Additional Support Needs (ASN) show a strong need for the protection of funding to this sector.

With local authorities body Cosla warning that councils could face up to £500 million of budget pressures in the coming year, we have written to all council leaders as they look to set their budgets, seeking the protection of funding to vital services designed to address the needs of those pupils who have ASN.

A reduction in support to children with challenging behaviour could result in severe disruption to mainstream classes. In this context, council education departments have also highlighted an increasing number of children who have complex needs and the consequent pressure that this puts on special school places.

Urgent action is required to ensure that children and young people with ASN are provided with adequate support. The first step in that process is for councils to protect funding to these services.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition

Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred Scotland; Tom McGhee, MD, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School; Niall Kelly, MD, Young Foundations

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Scottish Government figures which indicate that 22.5 per cent of pupils in Scottish schools are recorded as having Additional Support Needs (ASN) are very concerning and show a strong need for the protection of funding to this sector (10th December).

With the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) warning that Councils could face up to half a billion pounds of budget pressures in the coming year, we have written to all Council Leaders as they look to set their budgets, seeking the protection of funding to services addressing the needs of those with ASN.

As we know, the cost to society of failing to adequately support this vulnerable group far outweighs any potential budget cuts.

Reduction in individual support to children with challenging behaviour can result in severe disruption to mainstream classes. In this context Council education departments have also highlighted an increasing number of children with complex needs and the consequent pressure on special school places.

It should also be noted that this is set against a background of the number of teachers consistently falling, from 54,347 in 2008 to 50,717 this year.

Urgent action is required to ensure that those children and young people with ASN are provided with adequate support, delivering the best possible outcomes. And the first step in that process is for Councils to protect funding to these vital services, which addresses the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition

Comprising: Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred Scotland; Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School; Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations

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