top of page

(UK) Scotland: Almost 100,000 more special needs students; funding can't keep up

June 28, 2021, Scotland, Times News Express: Per-pupil funding for children with additional support needs drops

Funding to support children with special needs has fallen by more than £1,000 per pupil since 2012, according to Scottish Government figures. While the total amount of education funding for children with additional support needs (ASN) has risen by £200 million [$277M U.S.] over that time, the number of pupils identified as having ASN increased by 97,886. Across Scotland’s 32 local authorities, the average spend per pupil on extra support for ASN pupils in primary schools, secondary schools and special education facilities dropped from £4,276 in 2012 to £3,224 in 2020 – a fall of 24.6%. Spending in cash terms per pupil ranged from £1,737 in Edinburgh to £5,849 in the Shetland Islands. Last year there were 215,897 pupils with ASN – almost a third (30.9%) of all Meanwhile, the number of full-time equivalent ASN teachers at publicly funded schools fell from 3,389 to a record low of 2,836, a decrease of 553 teachers. Commenting on the figures, published in response to a written question to Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition called for more funding…. “Such a situation is clearly challenging in an environment of austerity and evidence of cuts in spending per pupil with ASN and in the number of specialist teachers supporting this group. “It is vital that the Scottish Government and local authorities work together to provide the necessary resourcing to address the needs of those children and young people with ASN, who represent some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. A Scottish Government spokesman said: “All children and young people should receive the support they need to reach their learning potential…. “Councils are responsible for identifying and meeting the additional support needs of their pupils. We provide councils with an additional £15 million each year to further enhance capacity to help meet the individual needs of children and young people…. “Local government financial statistics for 2018-19 showed that local authorities spent £5.6 billion on education in Scotland. This has gone up from £5.2 billion in 2017-18 – a 4.1% increase in real terms (6.3% in cash terms). “Of that, £661 million was on additional support for learning – increasing from £633 million in 2017-18 – a 2.2% increase in real terms (4.3% in cash terms).”


bottom of page