Additional Support for Learning
This information is for parents of all children and young people in South Ayrshire
schools. 'Parents' means anyone who has responsibility for a child or young person.
'Young people' means pupils over 16 who are still at school.
It tells you about important changes in the law that will affect children's and
young people's education. These changes have been made to help children and young
people who need additional support in school.
The new law is called the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland)
Act 2004. The Act became law on the 14th of November 2005.
What are additional support needs?
Some children and young people need extra help in school to make progress. It is
the duty of the education authority to give some extra help in schools to all children
and young people with additional support needs. Children and young people may need
this help with their reading or writing, to make sure they can get into and around
the school or to support their learning through difficult family circumstances.
Additional support needs can last for only a short time or could last for much longer.
For instance, additional support may be needed for a child or young person who:
- is being bullied
- is gifted
- has behavioural or learning difficulties
- is bereaved
- is deaf or blind
- is not attending school regularly
These are just some examples.
How do we make sure we can meet the additional support needs of pupils in South
All children and young people may need additional support at some point to help
them make the most of school education. The main support is the class teacher who
is able to meet the needs of most pupils without extra help. With good teaching
and learning, and the right materials, most children and young people won’t
need anything more than this.
If a pupil needs more help than the class teacher can give in school, then a process
of providing the right support begins. We call this staged intervention. Staged
intervention is our way of recognising additional support needs and then giving
extra help for a child or young person. This can be broken down into three main
stages in school:
Stage 1 - In class support
At this stage the teacher notices children or young people who need more help than
other children or young people in the class. For most pupils the help they need
can be given by the class teacher without anyone else being involved. The teacher
may change the way she teaches, change the materials the pupil is using or reorganise
her classroom. Even after this, some children still need help and the class teacher
will talk to the pupil support co-ordinator or principal teacher in the school for
advice and help.
Stage 2 - In school support
If the child or young person is still having problems and not making good progress,
the teacher will get help from other people in the school, such as pupil support
staff. At Stage 2, this help will come from the school. The school should talk to
parents as soon as possible in order to make sure they know all about the help being
given to their child.
Stage 3 - Interagency support
Sometimes the help at stage 2 is not enough and the school will arrange a meeting
so that everyone who might be able to help the child to learn will be able to talk
things over and agree a plan to support the child or young person. This might be
social workers, health workers or voluntary workers who might be asked for information,
advice or help. It will involve the educational psychologist. The teacher and the
school gather this information, advice and services. This is then used to help the
child or young person make the most of school.
Before the plan can be drawn up everyone will have to share information about the
child or young person’s additional support needs. Then everyone should agree
what they can do to support the child or young person. They will all have to agree
some targets and when to meet again to make sure the targets are being met.
For most pupils this will be written down in an Individualised Educational Programme
(IEP). For a small number this might mean a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP) has
to be prepared. An IEP sets short and long term targets for the child or young person.
A CSP also sets targets for the child or young person. However, in a CSP the child
or young person needs the support of people outside education, such as health workers,
in order to help them learn to their full potential. Pupils at stage 3 should also
have a meeting to discuss their plan at least once a year.
How can parents help to support children and young people with additional support
Parents should know about and be involved in the plans to support their children
right from the start. Parents can bring supporters or advocates to any meeting at
school to discuss their child’s additional support needs.
They should understand the way schools work and know all about the support available
from the school, the education authority and from other professionals. This page
gives some information on the staged intervention process which is the way schools
will make sure that children get the help they need if they have additional support
The school or education authority can give you more information if you want it.
If a CSP is being prepared for a child or young person, the Authority must take
account of the views of parents. This should be when deciding to prepare a CSP and
when reviewing the CSP. In addition the views of parents on any aspects of the CSP
should be written into the plan.
What role do children and young people play?
All children and young people will have the opportunity to make their views known
about decisions that affect them. They will be encouraged to take part in any meeting
where people are discussing their additional support needs. They will help to set
their own targets and to review these. They will also help with the plans to move
to another school or to life after school when the time is right.
If a CSP is being prepared or the authority is trying to establish if one is needed,
children and young people will have opportunities to let people know what their
views are. They will also be asked for their views when a CSP is being reviewed.
These views will be written down in the plan.
How can parents make requests for assessment?
Assessment means gathering and making sense of information about a child or young
person and his or her particular circumstances. Its purpose is to identify children
and young people who have additional support needs and to make sure they get the
support they need. It takes account of their strengths as well as identifying their
Assessment is something that happens all the time and a great deal of information
will be available in schools. This means that specific, individual assessments might
not be necessary. However, the Act makes sure that parents or young people can ask
an education authority to arrange for an assessment or examination to take place.
The request can be for an educational, psychological or medical assessment or examination
or any other assessment or examination that is requested, including more than one
Requests for assessment must be in writing or some other permanent form which can
be referred to in the future. The request should contain the reasons for the request
and the education authority must meet this request unless it is unreasonable.
The authority may decide a request is unreasonable if:
- it is not in the best interests of the child or young person;
- it is not relevant given the child’s or young person’s circumstances;
- it is unnecessary given no significant change;
- since an earlier assessment;
- it falls within a short time of a previous request;
- it repeats assessment already carried out.
Parents can expect a response to such requests within four weeks and will be notified
of the person in the authority who is dealing with the request. These requests should
be sent to the education authority.
What can parents do if they don’t agree with the authority?
Separate information has been published giving details of the process involved in
resolving differences which might arise between the authority and a parent. This
might involve discussing things with your child’s head teacher or with an
officer from the authority or it might involve voluntary mediation, which a parent
can ask for and can be requested at any time. It might mean the formal process of
dispute resolution and appeals tribunals. This information will be available in schools
and also from the education authority.
Where can parents get support and information relating to additional support needs?
The first point of contact for more information should be the school your child
attends. For more information you can contact the following officers:
The Principal Psychologist
Tel: 01292 612253
Quality Improvement Officer (ASfL)
Tel: 01292 612253
- Social Work: (Ayr) 01292 267675, (Girvan) 01465 712299
- Children and Families Disability Team:01292 886569
- Disability Resource Centre: 01292 616261
Health: The normal route to health services, for example Child and Adolescent Mental
Health Services (CAMHS), is by referral from your General Practitioner.
- Speech and Language Therapy: 01292 571236
- Princess Royal Trust Carers Centre: 01292 263000
- Barnardo’s Children’s Rights and Advocacy Worker: 01292 294309
- Children 1st: 01292 288373
Children 1st Directions Project works with children aged 5-12 and their families
to address difficulties including challenging behaviour, and possible or actual
Children 1st Family Group Conference Service brings families together where there
are concerns about a child to help them find their own solutions to difficulties.
In addition to the above numbers, parents can also contact:
Enquire helpline: 0845 123 2303
Textphone: 0131 22 22 439
Enquire, the Scottish advice service for Additional Support for Learning provides
free, independent and impartial advice through its helpline.
This publication can be made available in Braille and audio CD. It can also be
made available in different languages. To order an alternative format please
telephone 01292 612253 or email: ASNenquiries@south-ayrshire.gov.uk
Download the Additional Support for Learning Leaflet