Teachers forced to plug gaps in ASN teaching

Teachers are being expected to fill the gap as cuts to funding for pupils with additional support needs (ASN) bite, representatives at the annual conference of NASUWT Scotland-the teachers' union, argued today.

Research highlights difficulties faced by BME teachers in Glasgow.
Research highlights difficulties faced by BME teachers in Glasgow.

Local authorities are cutting funding, both directly and indirectly, for pupils with ASN in mainstream classes, the conference in Glasgow heard. Specialist and support staff have been cut and representatives argued that resources and support for pupils with ASN are dwindling.

Teachers are also coming under increasing workload pressures as a result.

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Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Cuts to funding and specialist support for children with ASN are threatening to negatively impact on pupils’ ability to thrive and succeed.

“In many cases teachers are trying to fill the gap themselves which is driving up their workloads.

“Teachers care greatly about the pupils they teach, but it is completely unacceptable that they are effectively being expected to make up for the lack of adequate resources and support which is needed to meet the needs of these pupils.

“It is clear that the current system is failing pupils with ASN, their classmates and the teachers working to support them. It is high time the Scottish Government revisited its system of support for pupils with ASN as it is plainly not fit for purpose.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT national official Scotland, said: “Specialist support for pupils with ASN has been cut at a time when the numbers of pupils with additional needs is rising. This is clearly a recipe for disaster in which pupils’ entitlement to have all barriers to their education progress removed is being compromised.

“In some cases schools are using additional money allocated through the Pupil Equity Fund to plug the gaps left by the stripping out of essential resources and support, which is not what this money is intended for.

“The fact that things are not even worse is only due to the dedication and commitment of their teachers who are pulling out all the stops to try to ensure every child receives the education they deserve. However, this is completely unsustainable.”