Claim: pupils missing out on support cash

Schoolchildren with additional support needs in South Ayrshire may be missing out as there are major disparities between local authorities in funding levels.

Thousands of Scottish children and young people, such as those with learning difficulties, learning disabilities, autism and care experience, may not be getting the support they are entitled to according to a coalition of leading independent and third sector children’s services providers.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) has raised concerns after the publication of Scottish Government census data.

South Ayrshire Council however say that only external funding is taken into account in the figures.

South Ayrshire is on 9 per cent for primary pupils compared to a Scottish average of 24.4 per cent, and for secondary pupils of 13 per cent compared to a Scottish average of 24 per cent.

A spokesperson for the SCSC said: “This inconsistency in gathering information on, and identifying those with ASN by local authorities, requires clearer and comprehensive guidance from the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government must commit to working more closely with local authorities to tackle this and develop a universal method to ensure that better information is recorded so that accurate numbers can be reported.”

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services at South Ayrshire Council, said: “We’re committed to removing barriers to children’s learning and providing the best service possible for all young people.

“The figures for South Ayrshire refer only to children and young people who receive support from external agencies, third sector organisations and other partners beyond the school. They do not include the large number of pupils with Additional Support Needs who receive personalised support from teachers in classrooms and specialist staff in schools. Schools work in close partnership with parents to ensure that young people with additional needs are properly supported.”