Additional support for learning

Additional support needs arise when a child needs more, or different, support from what is normally provided in schools or nurseries for children of the same age.

What are additional support needs?

Additional support needs arise when a child needs more, or different, support from what is normally provided in schools or nurseries for children of the same age.

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 a local authority
  • having a long-term illness

What additional support is available?

All children and young people will regularly be involved in learning conversations to review their progress and agree on next steps. These conversations will be with key staff who know the children well.

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

Getting independent advice

If you want independent advice about additional support for your child, there are a number of organisations who offer this.


This Scottish advice service provides help, information and resources about additional support for learning legislation.

Visit the Enquire website for parents, carers and professionals

Visit the Enquire website for children and young people

Phone: 0345 123 2303.

Let's Talk

This national advocacy service is funded by the Scottish Government. It is for parents of children with additional support needs who need support in relation to a dispute or potential dispute with an education authority.

Visit the Let’s Talk website

My Rights, My Say

This service provides advice and information, advocacy support, legal representation and service to seek children's views independently about their support.

Visit the My Rights, My Say website

Assessing your child's needs

Assessment is an ongoing process that ensures the right help is available at the right time, to help children and young people reach their fullest potential. It includes gathering a range of information to understand their talents, skills and personality, circumstances and learning styles.

It involves looking at individual work, observing children in a range of learning situations and listening to them in a way that suits each individual. Participation from parents and carers is critical.

A range of professionals may support the assessment including educational psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists.

If you're concerned about your child’s learning or development, contact your school. Parents or carers can ask for an assessment of their child’s additional support needs.

Planning learning and support

Planning is needed to make sure children and young people get the right support. Staged intervention is the process we use to identify the level of support needed for each child.

Staged intervention

Staged intervention is used in schools and nurseries to identify and meet additional support needs. These needs may require more, or different, support to what is normally provided for children of the same age.

Anyone, including children and parents, can ask for stage intervention to be used.

Read the staged intervention guidelines

More about staged intervention involving children and young people

Co-ordinated support plans

A co-ordinated support plan (CSP) is a legal document which aims to co-ordinate the support that a child or young person receives from different services, such as education, social work and health. It sets out who provides the support, how often and for how long.

Most children and young people will not need a CSP as their needs will be met through other forms of planning.

Specialist provisions and special schools

A range of specialist establishments are available for children and young people who have complex additional support needs and who require a more specialised level of additional support that cannot be provided within a mainstream establishment. These specialist establishments have a higher teacher and support staff level in each class.

Castleview Primary School supports nursery and primary-aged children and Ochil House provision in Wallace High School supports secondary-aged young people, who have severe and complex needs.

Bannockburn Primary School, Callander Primary School and Riverside Primary School all have specialist provisions for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder and associated needs. The equivalent secondary specialist provision is situated at St Modan’s High School. An ASN expansion of secondary specialist provisions is currently underway to develop provisions for children and young people with complex additional support needs at Balfron High School, McLaren High School and Bannockburn High School, to support children and young people to remain in their own local communities.

Stirling Inclusion Support Service (Millhall, Riverside and Chartershall) supports primary and secondary-aged children and young people, who have social, emotional and behavioural needs. The service has a higher staff level, with small class sizes and creative and flexible approaches to teaching and learning, with the provision of trauma informed practice.

Stirling Inclusion Support Service

Additional support for children and young people’s learning is provided by good classroom practice, pastoral care and support for learning with a staged intervention model to support assessment and planning. There are a range of supports and services in Stirling, which additional support can be provided based on identified need.

Additional Support Needs (ASN) Outreach

The ASN Outreach team consists of peripatetic teachers who work across mainstream school and early learning and childcare settings and provide advice and support in areas such as sensory impairment, complex needs, autism spectrum disorder, English as an additional language, gypsy and traveller children and young people and, supporting children and young people absent from school due to ill health.

Stirling Inclusion Support Service (Outreach)

The Outreach team working for Stirling’s Inclusion Support Service consists of peripatetic teaching staff and Inclusion Support Workers, who work across mainstream schools and nursery settings to provide training, advice and support on social, emotional and behavioural needs, including trauma informed practice.

Educational Psychology Service

The Educational Psychology Service delivers on core and statutory functions to identify, assess and advise on the additional support needs of children and young people. The service provides support at a national, local authority, whole school and individual/family level and provides support at a universal and targeted level on improvement areas such as improving children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and closing the poverty related attainment gap in education.