Budget cuts have slashed the level of support available to children with additional support needs (ASN) in mainstream schools, local MSP Jackie Baillie and convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on learning disability has argued.
Speaking in a recent Scottish Parliament debate, the Dumbarton MSP said that one in seven ASN teaching posts has been cut since 2010 despite an increase in the number of children with additional support needs.
Jackie Baillie welcomed the publication of new national guidance on the presumption of mainstreaming in education but urged the SNP Government to deal with the root cause of the problem by reversing budget cuts and investing in schools.
Jackie also highlighted the views expressed by local parents and teachers in response to learning disability charity ENABLE’s national conversation about the reality of educational experiences for young people in Scotland. Their report ‘#IncludED in the Main?!’ made a series of recommendations to the Scottish Government to improve the experience of children with ASN in our schools.
Parents from West Dunbartonshire said that there are not enough staff available to meet their children’s needs and called for pupils with ASN to be treated as individuals.
A teacher from Argyll and Bute said that specialist ASN training had to be arranged privately and the local authority did not offer enough support to staff.
“Once again the SNP’s record on education is exposed as simply not good enough
“The fact is that 1 in every 7 ASN teaching posts has been cut since 2010 under the SNP. All the evidence shows a lack of resources and funding for schools is having a negative impact on the education of children with ASN. The teachers do a great job, but they need resources and support.
“John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon need to recognise the common theme of their record on education -; cuts are harming the chances of our young people.
“It is now clear that the real reform our schools need is more funding. The tax plans proposed by the SNP simply do not close the budget gap. Only Labour is offering a plan to stop the cuts and invest in education instead