Herald Scotland is reporting that children’s charities have warned Education Secretary John Swinney that he will fail to close the attainment gap unless schools do more for pupils with special needs.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) said nearly a quarter of pupils in Scottish schools, 153,000, are classed as having additional needs, but council cuts have seen a 10 per cent fall in specialist support staff in five years, from 19,332 to 17,408.
The latest school leavers figures show 6.4 per cent of those with additional support needs (ASN) left with no qualifications at or above SCVQ level two, and are twice as likely to be unemployed as other school leavers.
The SCSC, an alliance of independent and charity organisations working with vulnerable children and families, said the presumption that all pupils with ASN are taught in mainstream schools can only work if they are properly assessed for their ability to cope and schools have the necessary resources to help them. Alternatives should be offered if mainstream schools are not working out, it said.
A spokesperson for the SCSC commented: “Supporting children and young people with ASN is vital if we are to create an equal society and genuinely close the educational attainment gap once and for all. Resources have become so stretched that children and young people who require extra support and tailored services to their individual needs are simply being left behind.”
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