Education to be maintained for additional support needs pupils
Local authorities across Scotland have been encouraged to maintain education services for vulnerable and additional support needs (ASN) pupils by the Scottish Government, it can be revealed.
Highland MSP Edward Mountain MSP raised concerns in the Scottish Parliament about the disruption to ASN pupils following the announcement of nationwide school closures.
Education secretary John Swinney confirmed the move to parliament, a day after the announcement was made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, but moved swiftly to calm fears about the most vulnerable pupils.
Mr Swinney said he will be encouraging local authorities to ensure educational provision for vulnerable and ASN pupils remains as constant as possible despite the highly disruptive closures.
Mr Mountain said: “Minimising disruption for vulnerable and ASN pupils is really important during this uncertain time. Pupils and their parents should be reassured that the Scottish Government is encouraging local authorities to do everything they can to maintain provision whilst meeting the latest public health guidance.”
In Holyrood, Mr Mountain asked: “Cabinet Secretary, these are indeed exceptional times, and I want to briefly touch on the exceptional support given to vulnerable and ASN pupils in the Highlands, which is held in such high regard.
“School closures have caused some concern among these pupils groups and their parents. You have indicated what you intend to do but could you perhaps shed a bit more light on what support you would like to see given to these pupils and their families during this time?”
Mr Swinney replied: “I think some of the additional support needs provision should be able to operate in a fairly consistent manner to its existing model as long as it is compliant with or consistent with the health advice that is being issued.”
“This is disruptive for everybody, it’s very very disruptive to pupils with additional support needs. So we have to make sure we do everything we can to try to minimise that disruption, so I think those opportunities exist and obviously we will be encouraging local authorities, as I have done in my statement today, to try to maintain as much continuity as they possibly can.”