Additional support for learning

All children get help with their learning. Schools and nurseries have resources to meet a diverse range of needs without any additional support.   

What are additional support needs?

A child is said to have ‘additional support needs’ if they need more, or different, support from what is normally provided in schools or nurseries for children of the same age. 

The Education (Additional support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended 2009) created the term additional support needs and explains the duties on education authorities to support children and young people’s learning.

A child or young person may have additional support needs for lots of reasons including:

  • a physical disability
  • being a young carer
  • changing school a lot
  • being bullied
  • having a communication difficulty
  • being looked after by the local authority
  • having a long term illness.

What additional support is available?

Universal support starts with caring and inclusive learning environments in schools and nurseries. All children and young people will regularly be involved in learning conversations to review their progress and agree next steps. These conversations will be with key staff who know the children well.

Children with additional needs will have a range of support and strategies to best meet their own individual needs. Some may receive additional input from support staff, support for learning teachers or staff from outreach services. A small number of children and young people will attend a specialist provision or special school.

Independent advice

Enquire are a Scottish advice service providing help, information and resources about additional support for learning legislation. All advice given is independent and impartial.

Contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303.

Enquire also has two websites, one for parents, carers and professionals and one for children and young people.

Let's Talk is a national advocacy service funded by Scottish Government for the parents of children with additional support needs who may require support in relation to a dispute or potential dispute with an education authority. It aims to resolve disputes at the earliest stage possible. The service can be used by anyone who has a right to make a reference to the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland.

My Rights, My Say is a children's service which provides advice and information, advocacy support, legal representation and a service to seek children's views independently about their support. 

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