Supporting children with additional support needs can’t be done on the cheap

Lorraine Thomson
Lorraine Thomson

#stuc19 Congress backed a UNISON amendment to an EIS motion to ensure statutory provision of all the staff needed to identify and support children with additional support needs, as it called for a campaign for better services for children who need additional support.

UNISON’s Lorraine Thomson also supported a SSTA motion calling on the Scottish Government to involve all education trade unions in all decisions affecting the profession.

Lorraine told delegates: “UNISON believes that the best way to improve public services, or indeed any organisation, is to listen to the voices of those who deliver that service.”

And that needed to include UNISON members in all sectors of education, in the early years, in schools, colleges and universities alongside careers staff, educational psychologists, social workers, and community workers.

Their voice needed to be heard when they say they are not getting it right for children with additional support needs.

“Anyone working in a school, or any parent of a child that needs additional support, will tell you that mainstreaming is failing”, said Lorraine.

“That’s because the government has not provided enough money for either the day to day work with pupils or for training and professional development for all the staff working with those children.

“Schools need more staff and both new and current staff need training and ongoing support in order identify pupils’ specific needs and challenges and then to meet those needs.”

Lorraine pointed out that it is not generally teachers who work closely with children with ASN. It is support workers, classroom assistants and pupil support assistants.

Since 2010 the number of pupils with additional support needs has doubled but there are almost 2000 fewer support staff.

Lorraine told delegates: “Across Scotland our members are telling us that they are dealing with children with complex physical and behavioural support needs with minimal training and support.

“Getting It Right For Every Child cannot be done on the cheap.”

Click here for more information on the STUC website.

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