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The earlier the ASN intervention, the better

We noted with interest the report from the Scottish Transitions Forum (STF) recommending that one in five school leavers with additional support needs (ASN) should be offered more than a decade of help - from the ages of 14 to 25 - as they make the move from school to college, university and work ("Why we must be in it for the long haul on ASN transition", 25 July).

This is something that we as an organisation suggested should be introduced into the Children and Young People Bill, so that these individuals should be afforded the same rights as looked-after children, who are given support up to the age of 26 under what is now the Children and Young People Act.

Although some regions, such as Highland, are very good at helping pupils to plan for the future early, for others it is a postcode lottery that leaves some of the most vulnerable in our society out in the cold.

Early intervention is critical if we are to ensure that these young people realise their full potential and to reduce the stress of transitions for this vulnerable group.

Under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act 2004, councils and other agencies must start planning transition for ASN students at least a year before they leave school. However, it would clearly be better to start transition planning much earlier, perhaps even in the early years of secondary school - a scenario outlined in related official guidance.

As a society we spend heavily in meeting the costs of failure, but through early intervention can ensure that we give the most vulnerable the best chance as they move from school into further education, employment and training.

The Scottish Children's Services Coalition comprising: Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School; Sophie Dow, founder, Mindroom; Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred; Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations

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