Search

(UK) Edinburgh sees "massive" increase in SPED in mainstream schools; supports not there

Aug 20, 2019, Edinburgh News: Edinburgh's disabled children being 'segregated' in mainstream schools due to lack of support https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/people/edinburgh-s-disabled-children-being-segregated-in-mainstream-schools-due-to-lack-of-support-1-4987938 Disabled children channelled towards mainstream schools are being left isolated and segregated because there is not enough support, an Evening News investigation can reveal. The number of pupils with additional support needs (ASN) going to mainstream schools has dramatically increased amid concerns that lack of funding for the sector risks “isolating” and “segregating” pupils. There were nearly 200,000 children registered as having ASN across Scottish education in 2018, up a massive 69 per cent since 2012, analysis from JPImedia shows. Scotland has also seen a sharp rise in the number of children with ASN going to mainstream schools, both primary and secondary, following a drive for greater inclusion from the Scottish Government, a 73.1 per cent rise since 2012. But harsh cuts in Scottish Government funding for the sector have fuelled fear that children’s needs are not being met. … “This is when we often see the gap widening between children with ASN and those without.”l… “The lack of support and resources for ASN children in mainstream is having an impact on other children and on our valuable teaching staff. “I am a parent as well as a teacher and see the impact of the increase in children with ASN in mainstream schools due to the presumption of mainstreaming to teachers and to classrooms, as well as the detrimental impact it is having on invaluable special schools across Scotland.” … Mrs Lockhart went on to explain that it is incredibly difficult to “get a child into extra support schools”. She said: “There are three cases in which a child with ASN can attend a non-local authority school, it is hard to invoke these, and therefore difficult to get a placement in a special school. “There is also the stigma attached to special schools whereby pupils are seen as being ‘excluded’ from communities and ‘segregated’…. Cllr Alison Dickie, Education, Children and Families Vice Convener, said: “There are an increasing number of pupils with additional support needs in our schools and supporting them and our teaching staff is a priority for the council. … “All staff in special schools are offered a range of training appropriate to the needs of the pupils they support. This training is delivered by a range of professionals including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, the ASL service, Psychological Services and Allied Health Professionals. …. A pupil support assistant (PSA) from Edinburgh has revealed how he feels “completely overwhelmed” working in schools with additional support needs (ASN) pupils and has expressed concern about the lack of qualifications and experience required by PSAs to work with vulnerable children. … He said: “All you need to work with a child with complex additional needs is to have the appropriate disclosures statements signed off. You end up in a situation where a lack of qualified, contracted workers results in potentially under-qualified, zero hours supply workers provide short-term relief for the school but at the expense of the children they work with.” While the pupil assistant agreed that more inclusion sounds “great” he explained that the “implementation of this is still playing major catch-up” and Scottish schools are “struggling to support children with additional needs” to the detriment of these pupils. He said: “Children are often placed into segregated systems within schools. By sticking a kid in a mainstream school but in a segregated department or even an outbuilding at times, all you are doing is displacing the issue. You’re not dealing with it and these children are not being fully integrated.” The PSA also said that the issue lies with the “government’s position” and they have their “heads in the sand”. He said: “It’s not the schools as such that are getting this wrong, it’s a governmental position and they’ve got their heads in the sand. From the top down, the whole system needs to be reassessed.” A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “All children and young people should receive the support that they need to reach their learning potential. New online resources have been created to support school staff and guidance on the presumption to include ASN pupils in mainstream education have been updated.”…