Friday, December 13, 2019
The skye times mobile

Parents across the Highlands are being urged to complete an online consultation and share how Highland Council's reduction in additional support needs (ASN) staff is affecting pupils and classes.

Pupils who require support are suffering frustration, anxiety and stress following the reduction in ASN provision since last session, according to a survey conducted by EIS Highland Local Association, part of Scotland’s largest teacher union.

The key findings of this survey clearly demonstrate a negative impact on all pupils, on teaching and learning, and on teacher workload and well-being.


58% of respondents had witnessed an increase in low-level disruption and 27% reported an increase in incidents of violence and aggression.

91% of staff had noticed an increase in their workload, an area of national concern and one of the reasons for the provision of additional in-service days this session.

94% reported having to undertake additional preparation and correction, with 67% citing an increase in meetings with management.

Kate Forbes MSP said: "Highland Council's decision to restructure its additional support needs staffing prompted lots of parents and teachers to write to me highlighting the invaluable work pupil support assistants provide.

"This online consultation serves as an important opportunity for parents and carers to share their experiences as a result of recent decisions.

"I hope Highland Council will listen to parents and staff and ensure the needs of every child in my constituency are met and that support remains in place for children with additional support needs."

According to the consultation website, Highland Council says "the information gathered will be used to inform improvement planning in education."

A spokesperson for the Highland Council told Skye Times Online: "We have not received this report nor had the opportunity to review how many took part in this survey.

"The facts remain however that Highland continues to have one of the highest levels of resource allocated to ASN in the country.

"We have been tackling inconsistency in allocations in our schools and this has actually led to some schools having been allocated more resource since last year.

"Work is currently underway to review the ASN model of allocation and this is involving staff, parent and pupil groups - and this work will report back in 2020.

"All of our young people remain at the core of our daily planning and delivery."

The deadline for responses is understood to be Wednesday 11 December.

The consultation can be found here.


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