Since the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 58th National Sitting, the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee have been conducting research on Additional Support for Learning (ASL) for pupils with disabilities throughout secondary schools across Scotland. We are aware of budget cuts to local authorities, and are concerned that this could put ASL learners and staff at a disadvantage and may have a severe impact on the education of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people.
As a committee, we wish to understand the views of those who are involved in ASL for disabled pupils, whether they be additional support learners themselves or staff who continually provide support and guidance. In order to gather as many views as possible, the committee has developed two surveys, one for disabled learners with additional support needs and one for additional support staff. We hope that the information we receive from the survey responses will help us to understand the needs of those involved in ASL, and we will write up a report on our findings in hopes of presenting it to the Scottish Parliament in June, before the next SYP Sitting.
As well as the surveys, each member within our committee will be conducting a focus group in a local school within their constituency. This will be a great opportunity for both the staff and additional support learners, as it will allow them to directly communicate their experiences with their local representative, and will strengthen the committee members level of local engagement in this issue. We look forward to sharing our report and findings with Scotland’s young people as well as the decision makers.
In addition to conducting ASL research, the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee have arranged a meeting with Stewart Maxwell MSP, the Convener of the Education and Culture Committee at the Scottish Parliament, on Wednesday 9th March. We will discuss the work of our committee, and the ways in which the two committees can be involved.
Lastly, we look forward to presenting our motions at the next sitting on the issues that matter most to young people, and we hope to keep you updated on our work.