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(UK) "Steep increase" in special needs kids; no comparable increase in support

July 31, 2018, Tes: Thousands of pupils ‘not getting vital support’—New figures on school support staff to help ASN pupils show the risk of a ‘lost generation’ of children, say campaigners https://www.tes.com/news/thousands-pupils-not-getting-vital-support Thousands of children with additional support needs (ASN) may not be getting the support they need in schools, according to an alliance of children’s service providers. The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition has highlighted new Scottish government figures out today showing a fall in the ratio of pupils with ASN supported by specialist staff. However, the government argued that new recording practices make direct comparisons more difficult, and that previously released figures showed an increase in the overall number of teachers in Scotland. Updated figures from the school staff census highlight that, despite a steep increase in pupils identified as having ASN (from 118,034 in 2012 to 183,491 in 2017), the number of specialist support staff for those with ASN has risen by only 6 per cent in the same period, from 12,992 to 13,761…. The SCSC said that the government must work with local authorities to provide the necessary resourcing for ASN, or face the prospect of a “lost generation”. Those with ASN may, for example, have autism spectrum disorder, mental health problems, ADHD, dyslexia or have experience of the care system. Support staff working in the sector include ASN auxiliaries, care assistants, behaviour support staff and educational psychologists…. The SCSC also highlights that average spend per pupil by local authorities on additional support for learning dropped from £4,276 in 2012-13to £3,548 in 2016-17, a 21.9 per cent cut in real terms (17 per cent in cash terms). An SCSC spokesman said: “Cutting numbers of these specialist staff will only serve to isolate more young people and their families…. Deputy first minister and education secretary John Swinney said: “These statistics show there are more than 13,000 pupil support assistants in Scotland in 2017. While this figure is not comparable [see below] with the total for last year of around 12,000, we are determined that all children and young people get the support they need to reach their full potential. …