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NewsScots students faced with sharp decline in legally binding education support plans

Scots students faced with sharp decline in legally binding education support plans

CHILDREN with additional support needs (ASN) in Scotland are being faced with a sharp decline in the number of legally binding education support plans.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) have raised concerns over the fall in coordinated support plans (CSP), which are the only education plans that are legal documents.

Prepared by local authorities with a statutory duty to ensure provisions are met, CSP’s provide some guarantees to additional resources and legal redress.

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash. £65.5m will be added annually from 2022-23 into the local government settlement, which will support councils to employ additional staff on permanent contracts.

Since their introduction in 2004 the number of pupils receiving CSP’s has fallen 58.9% from 3448 in 2012 to 1420 in 2021.

The sharp decline has occurred as the number of pupils with ASN’s such as autism or dyslexia have dramatically increased.

The number reached a record high in 2021 of 232,753 pupils of which 58% were boys.

In contrast with England where the equivalent to a CSP, an education, health and care plan (EHCP), is in place for 3.7% of the pupil population, more than 18 times the Scottish rate.

The SCSC is concerned that councils are reluctant to issue CSPs due to a lack of resources. Non statutory alternatives are often being favoured in place of CSPs.

The SCSC is calling for an expansion in access to CSPs and a revision of the relevant statutory guidance with the necessary resourcing to support this.

An SCSC spokesperson said: “By not providing this statutory support, many of those vulnerable individuals are being failed and not getting the support they are entitled to,

“The Scottish Government, local authorities and other agencies need to collaborate to ensure that those requiring a CSP receive it, with the necessary resourcing to support this.”

Coordinated support plans (CSPs), prepared by local authorities, are the only education plans that are legal documents.

They provide some guarantees of entitlement to additional resources and legal redress, placing statutory duties on local authorities to ensure provisions contained within it are being met.

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