Lack of co-ordinated support for children with Additional Support Needs

Fewer than three percent of children with additional support needs, who are also being supported by social work services, are having their needs met via a coordinated support plan (CSP).

Scottish Labour analysis of the latest figures show that there were 21,906 young people with additional support needs, who were also being supported by social work services, in 2018 – but only 621 (2.8 per cent) within this group had a CSP.

CSPs are statutory support plans and should be prepared for eligible pupils who need support due to complex factors affecting their education, have needs that are likely to last more than a year, and need significant additional support from other services such as social work.

A CSP is the only legal planning document in education and allows parents and guardians to challenge local authority provision and make use of the Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland.

Since 2009, there has been an obligation on local authorities to assess whether children who are looked after should have a statutory support plan – such children qualify as they are supported by both educational and social work services.

Scottish Labour raised concerns about the lack of coordinated support for children with additional support needs, which has occurred against a backdrop of the SNPs 7.5 per cent real terms cut to local government funding.

Scottish Labour Education Spokesperson Iain Gray has called upon the SNP Government to take immediate action to improve access to support services for young people with additional needs.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“These statistics are incredibly worrying, and reveal just how badly the SNP Government is letting down young people with additional support needs.

“Co-ordinated support plans are vital to families in ensuring their children receive the correct level and type of support. It is inconceivable that only 3% of qualifying children need a coordinated support plan and the rights that gives them.

“This is just the latest in a long line of recent evidence which has highlighted how stretched support services for children with additional support needs are.

“Local government needs urgent reinvestment to ensure councils have the capacity to deliver services that meet the educational and support needs of every child.”