CAMPAIGNERS have warned that extra resources are “fundamentally missing” from the Scottish Government’s action plan to improve additional support for learning (ASL).

Ministers and the umbrella organisation for Scottish councils, Cosla, have drawn up a blueprint to improve ASL following recommendations made by Angela Morgan in her independent review.

Ms Morgan’s recommendations included directly involving children, young people and their families in decisions around ASL, changing the way in which the achievements and successes of children and young people with additional support needs are recognised and enhanced support for teachers and school staff.

Progress against these measures will be reported on by October 2021.

Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, John Swinney, said: “We are determined to improve the educational experiences of children and young people with additional support needs and make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.

READ MORE: Warning over safety of previously shielding teachers

“Angela Morgan’s report sets a clear direction in how we can continue to build on progress in this area and I am pleased the Scottish Government and Cosla have worked in partnership to develop a joint Action Plan to implement her recommendations.”

He added: “We must ensure children and young people and their families are listened to and involved in decisions around ASL that directly affect them. Our joint action plan with Cosla will ensure teachers and school staff are given the support they need to enable our children and young people to reach their full potential.

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on our children and young people, their families and those who support them. The measures outlined in our action plan will help to us to address this impact.”

But the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, which campaigns to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people, has warned that funding cuts have impacted the support offered.

READ MORE: Scottish Government pledges more than £10m to cover free school meals during holidays

A spokesperson for the coalition said: “There is much in this action plan to be commended, such as the direct involvement of children and their families in the decisions that affect them and greater training for teachers and support staff in additional support needs. However, what is fundamentally lacking is the vital resourcing needed to support the needs of those with ASN.

“While this number make up over 30 per cent of the pupil population, a number that has risen by just under a third since 2012, there has been a per head cut in spending of just under £1,000 for these pupils. This amounts to a more than 30 per cent cut in real terms.

“If we are to give those children and young people with ASN the best possible start in life, to truly value them, this means they get the support they need and that means putting our money where our mouth is as a society.”

The spokesperson added: “Representing a more than 30 per cent cut, this is clearly concerning and reinforces what we have been saying for some time over the potential creation of a lost generation of vulnerable children and young people. One symptom of this may be recent falling attainment levels for those with ASN.

“It is vital that those with ASN get the care and support they need, which is also key if we are to genuinely close the educational attainment gap. This is clearly challenging in an environment of austerity and evidence of cuts in spending per pupil with ASN.

“The cost to society in the long term if adequate resourcing is not provided will far outweigh any potential savings made today.”