The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

The Additional Support for Learning Act

The Additional Support for Learning Act introduces a new framework built around the concept of additional support needs. The new concept will apply to any child or young person who, for whatever reason, requires additional support, long term or short term, in order to overcome barriers to learning.

A child may require additional support for a variety of reasons. These may include those who are being bullied, are particularly gifted, have experienced a bereavement, or are not attending school regularly, as well as those who have behavioural or learning difficulties, mental health problems, or specific disabilities such as deafness or blindness.

The legislation will have an impact wider than education and has significant implications for professionals working in health, social work and a range of other agencies.

Under the Act, education authorities will have a duty to establish procedures for identifying and meeting the additional support needs of every child for whose education they are responsible. They must keep those needs under review. Other agencies will have a duty to help education authorities meet their duties. Such agencies may include a local authority’s social work services, any health board, any other local authority or other agency specified by Scottish Ministers, such as Careers Scotland or further education colleges.

Education authorities will be under a duty to provide mediation services and they will be required to have arrangements in place for resolving disputes. Parents will be able to request assessments where they or the authority thinks that that their child has additional support needs.

The new framework of support includes arrangements for children or young people who have enduring, complex or multiple barriers to learning and require a range of support from at least one service from outwith education. A new statutory Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP) will be drawn up for such children and young people. A new Additional Support Needs Tribunal will be set up to deal with any disagreements relating to CSPs.

The Additional Support for Learning Act