Progress on additional support for learning "must accelerate in wake of the pandemic"
19 Nov 2021
The pace of progress on improving additional support for learning provision must increase as the country continues to respond to and rebuild from the pandemic, the Scottish Parliament has been told.
Appearing in front of the Scottish Parliament’s Education, Children and Young People Committee earlier this week, Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland’s Head of Inclusion, called for:
- Prioritisation of actions to deliver the recommendations in the Additional Support for Learning Review, conducted by Angela Morgan, and
- A focus on supporting children and families in the early years.
She also said there was a need to work together in partnership across education, youth work, childcare and the wider children’s sector to deliver sustainable support and long-term change.
She highlighted the need to ensure equity of funding for additional support for learning in terms of Covid recovery, especially in relation to the Educational Recovery Fund.
Following the evidence session, Sally said:
“We know that the educational experiences of children and young people with additional support needs have been particularly impacted by the global pandemic. That’s why it is imperative that the progress made against the ASL action plan is accelerated.
“The last 18 months have emphasised the importance of partnerships and support. The communities of services and support that exist around schools need to work together and all be part of the recovery plan in order to ensure long-term systematic change that is sustainable far beyond the initial Covid recovery plan.
"This also needs to be reflected in the investment to help with recovery. It will be critical that there is equity of funding for children with additional support needs, including in the distribution of the Education Recovery Fund.
“We also mustn’t forget about the challenges facing families with pre-school children with additional support needs. This has so far been missing from the discussion.
"We need to improve the support pathways and transitions for these families by facilitating good, solid and genuine relationships with key professionals involved in their care and support.
"This will be imperative for families at this crucial stage who were greatly affected by losing out on support and services during the pandemic.
“Finally, we are consistently told about the difference meaningful participation and being involved in decision-making makes. This core principle of children and young people’s participation needs to underpin all ASL improvement work going forward."
Sally also highlighted the ongoing work to develop a National Measurement Framework to provide evidence of the impact of additional support interventions.
In order to understand the level of investment required, development of the Framework and its swift implementation will be key, she said.
Sally appeared in front of the Scottish Parliament’s Education, Children and Young People Committee on Wednesday 17 November. Click here to view the full recorded session.