The Scottish Government statistics on schools highlighted in the media are a cause for major concern, especially when it is noted that there has been a staggering 89 per cent increase in pupils with additional support needs in three years. Indeed, those in this category have risen from 10 to 19 per cent of the school population in this period.
This epidemic is set against a background of council cuts – an anticipated real terms reduction of £624 million by 2015-16 – and falling teacher numbers.
As a coalition, we are calling for urgent action by the Scottish Government to address the needs of these children and young people. A reversal of potential council cuts affecting children’s services is vital and the government and councils need to work together to increase funding and support. We are also calling for increased teacher support in the classroom, ensuring that they are given the training necessary to deal with those with additional support needs, currently not a mandatory requirement.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School; Brian Durham, managing director, Young Foundations; Sophie Dow, founder, Mindroom.