Boys more likely to need additional learning support

Boys are twice as likely to need additional learning support, according to a new study. Picture: John Devlin
Boys are twice as likely to need additional learning support, according to a new study. Picture: John Devlin
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BOYS are twice as likely as girls to need additional support for learning, according to a study of children at the age of eight.

At that age, nearly one in five (18 per cent) boys are in need of extra learning support, compared to fewer than one in 10 (8 per cent) girls, the analysis showed.

“The findings show that a significant proportion of today’s youngsters are in need of additional support from an early age”

Paul Bradshaw

Overall, the findings reveal that one in every eight (13 per cent) Scottish children aged eight is reported as having an additional support need by their parents.

The data was contained in social research body ScotCen’s Growing Up In Scotland survey - a study which tracks the lives of thousands of children and their parents from birth.

It has been released to coincide with Learning Disability Awareness Week.

Other findings show that children from lower income families are more likely to have an additional support need; 17 per cent from the bottom income quintile compared with 9 per cent from the top income quintile.

Similarly, youngsters living in the most deprived areas are more likely to have an additional support need, 15 per cent compared with 11 per cent living in the least deprived areas.

Local authorities and other agencies are legally required to provide additional support where needed to help any child or young person to benefit from education.

Some of the reasons cited in the study for children requiring learning support included speech problems, dyslexia and autism.

Paul Bradshaw, head of longitudinal surveys at ScotCen, said: “The findings show that a significant proportion of today’s youngsters are in need of additional support from an early age.

“The challenges they face are varied, aren’t always straightforward to manage and it’s likely that they’ll have a significant impact on their adult lives, so it’s important that every effort is made to provide this support where possible.

“The earlier extra support for children’s development is identified and delivered the more likely it is they’ll succeed throughout childhood and into adolescence.”

The survey’s results come from interviews with the parents of 3,685 children and are taken from data collected in 2012 when they were aged eight, in either primary three or primary four.