Dec 6, 2018, tes: ‘Special needs pupils manhandled into soft rooms’ https://www.tes.com/news/special-needs-pupils-manhandled-soft-rooms Nicola Sturgeon grilled on cuts to specialist teachers amid claims that lack of training is leading to extreme measures Labour leader Richard Leonard said that, as a result, ASN pupils were not receiving the expert care and support they needed, with some being shut in rooms by themselves because their teachers lacked the training to cope with their behaviour. There were 1,867 ASN teachers working in Scottish primaries and secondaries in 2014, but that figure dropped to 1,745 in 2017 – a fall of 122. Over the same period, the number of pupils recorded as having an additional support need in primary and secondary rose from 133,561 to 176,837. During First Minister’s Questions this afternoon, Mr Leonard said: “So the need is up by over 30 per cent, but qualified teachers down by over 6 per cent.” Mr Leonard had spoken to the mother of a 13-year-old with low-functioning autism who had daily “meltdowns” at school because the teachers caring for him did not have the right skills – even though he had been placed in a department for ASN pupils. Ultimately, the meltdowns led to him being shut in “a soft room”, which increased his distress and exacerbated the situation. … In response, Ms Sturgeon said that overall teacher numbers had increased over the past two years and that if you looked at all the staff involved in supporting children with ASN – from teachers and educational psychologists to behaviour support staff – the number had increased…. Earlier this year, a survey of the parents and carers of autistic children found that unlawful exclusion of autistic pupils was “widespread” and that some autistic children were being sent home from school multiple times a week – but not formally excluded.