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School support staff shortage 'must be tackled'

The shortage of specialist support staff in schools is having a negative impact on the outcomes of children and young people with learning disabilities and on teachers’ mental health, Children in Scotland believes.

We have called for teacher workforce planning to include consideration of what resources are needed to ensure the full range of additional support needs can be met, and acknowledges that this will require increased investment in support for learning staff.

Our recommendations are informed by evidence contributed by Enable Scotland and specifically the findings and calls in their Included in the Main? report.
Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy at Children in Scotland, said: “Teachers feel they are unable to meet the learning needs of pupils with learning disabilities because they don’t get enough support, and this is causing increased stress.  
“This is happening in the context of an increase in all types additional support needs, for example as a result of child poverty and the increasing number of pupils for whom English is an additional language.
“A wide-reaching approach is required. It is necessary to improve support mechanisms within schools by investing in specialist support staff, and also commit to addressing social inequalities that have a negative impact on children’s ability to learn.”
Read Children in Scotland’s full response to the Education and Skills Committee’s call for evidence as part of its inquiry into Teacher Workforce Planning here.