A REVIEW is to be held into a sharp decline in the use of vital support plans for vulnerable pupils in Scottish schools.

The Scottish Government said the move followed concerns from families that Co-ordinated Support Plans (CSP) were being phased out by councils.

While not all children with additional support needs (ASN) require a CSP it has an important status because it is a legal document requiring councils to ensure pupils receive appropriate support.

In particular, the documents are vital for pupils with more severe issues who require support from a number of different services such as education, social work or health.

Before the Additional Support for Learning Act in 2004, about two per cent of pupils in Scotland had a statutory support plan and, when the CSP was introduced, the Scottish Government promised there would be no decline in the proportion of children receiving them.

However, since 2011 there has been a year-on-year reduction in the number of CSPs opened, with the most recent figures showing a drop from 3,448 to just 1,986 last year.

Read more: Crisis as ASN pupil numbers hit record high in schools

Professor Sheila Riddell, chair of inclusion at Edinburgh University, warned last year in The Herald that if the trend continued, support plans could virtually disappear.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There is already a range of support and provision in place in Scotland to meet children’s needs.

“However, we have listened to the experiences of children and families and we will now take forward a review of the use of Coordinated Support Plans to ensure that those with additional support needs arising from complex or multiple factors are receiving the support they require, when they require it.”

The review was welcomed by Ross Greer, education spokesman for the Scottish Green Party.

He said: “The CSP system clearly isn’t working when the number of children with identified additional needs has grown so significantly, yet the number of plans has plummeted to just one percent of those same young people.

Read more: Vital support plans for pupils 'disappearing'

“The stories MSPs hear every week are deeply upsetting. The government should go directly to these families when they start this review.

“Hearing from those struggling to get essential support will leave them in no doubt that many vulnerable children are being badly let down.”