Additional support for learning: statutory guidance 2017 (2023)


Purpose of the Act

1. The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (“the Act”) [1] provides the legal framework for identifying and addressing the additional support needs of children and young people who face a barrier, or barriers, to learning. The Act aims to ensure that all children and young people are provided with the necessary support to help them work towards achieving their full potential. It also promotes collaborative working among all those supporting children and young people and sets out the rights of children, young people and parents within the system. The Act has been subsequently amended by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”) [2] the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”) [3] and the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) [4] . ( Annex A provides Links to Other Legislation, Policies and Guidance).

Purpose of the code

2. This is the third edition of the code and replaces all previous versions. This third edition takes account of the amendments in the 2016 Act which extended certain rights to children aged 12 and over [5] . It explains the duties on education authorities and other agencies to support children’s and young people’s learning. It provides guidance on the Act’s provisions as well as on the supporting framework of secondary legislation. The code uses the term “the Act” to include, where appropriate, the secondary legislative provisions made through Regulations and includes features of good practice on how these can be applied. It also sets out arrangements for avoiding and resolving differences between families and education authorities. Annex (F) includes links to the annual reports on information and data about additional support needs and the implementation of the Act.

Status of the code

3. Education authorities and appropriate agencies, such as NHS Boards [6] , are under a duty to have regard to the code when carrying out their functions under the Act. The code is designed to help them make decisions effectively but cannot be prescriptive about what is required in individual circumstances. Education authorities and appropriate agencies must ensure that their policies, practices and information and advice services take full account of the legal requirements of the Act. The code includes brief case studies and examples of good practice to illustrate some of the processes involved in applying the Act’s main provisions. These do not offer definitive interpretations of the legislation since these are ultimately a matter for the courts.

4. The code is intended to explain the principles of the legislation and to illustrate how the law might apply in certain situations. It is important to an appropriate understanding of this framework that this code of practice is read as a whole. Individual chapters should not be taken out of the context of the whole code or read in isolation from each other and the Act and the related secondary legislation. Chapter 1 provides a summary of the requirements of the Act. There are some issues which the code cannot resolve and which must await the authoritative interpretation of the courts. The code is not intended to be a substitute for taking appropriate advice on the legal implications of particular situations.

Other legislation and policy

(Video) Statutory Guidance

5. The guidance in this code should be read alongside other legislation and policy where appropriate. For example, Curriculum for Excellence, Getting it right for every child , Developing the Young Workforce and Hall 4 [7] and the Universal Health Visiting Pathway [8] have implications for education authorities’ and other agencies‘ support for learning strategies. In particular, Curriculum for Excellence is a curriculum for all and this includes explicitly children and young people with additional support needs. In Curriculum for Excellence every child is entitled to the support they need in order to progress [9] . The Act, with its focus on ensuring that children and young people receive the help they need to benefit from education, supports this inclusive ethos.

6. While the guidance in the code outlines links with other legislation and policy, the main purpose of the code is to explain the principles of the Act and how the law may apply in certain situations. While Curriculum for Excellence is a major policy driver in Scottish education it is not a statutory provision. Aspects of the main policy drivers are referred to at points in the code to describe the overall context within which the Act applies but they do not themselves wholly impact directly on the legislative provisions of the Act. It should be noted that it is beyond the scope of the code to provide a full account of the extent of the other policies and their impact on the lives of children and families. A summary of other relevant legislation and policy issues is provided at Annex A. Information about useful services and organisations may be found via the Enquire service finder at

Who should read the code?

7. Education authorities and agencies involved in advising or supporting children and young people with additional support needs and their families, should encourage and support their employees in gaining knowledge of the content of the code and understanding of its application in their day-to-day work.

8. Parents, children and young people may wish to refer to the code for information and advice on exercising their rights. However, specific guidance is also available for them (as well as practitioners) from Enquire [10] , the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning, funded by the Scottish Government.

9. Examples of professionals across agencies who are under a duty to have regard to the code, or others who may find it useful when carrying out duties under other legislation, include:

  • Multi-agency planners: policy officers, planners and service managers working in children’s services planning networks across education, health, social care, further education and training.
  • Education: education directorate, head teachers, teachers, classroom assistants and support staff, educational psychologists staff in schools and nursery provision, including partner providers for pre-school education.
  • Early years and childcare: early years practitioners, early years workers in family centres, practitioners in early learning and childcare establishments and staff delivering out-of-school provision.
  • Health: health visitors, public health nurses, school nurses, community child health teams, paediatricians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, other allied health professionals, clinical psychologists, and medical practitioners in paediatrics, general practice and child and family psychiatry.
  • Social work: social workers, residential child care staff, support workers, adoption and foster care service staff and social workers with responsibility for child protection and looked after children
  • Voluntary sector: staff working in the whole range of children’s services.
  • Other agencies: professionals in other agencies who may be involved in integrated assessment teams, for example, childcare fieldworkers, youth workers, Children’s Reporters, police, schools/community liaison team, community workers, staff working in Skills Development Scotland (careers services) and in higher and further education.


Eligible pre-school child

(Video) Introduction to the Primary Non-Statutory Guidance

10. Child eligible for pre-school provision who is under school age and has not started primary school. Every three and four year old child is entitled to 600 hours of early learning and child care. A child is also an eligible pre-school child if they are 2 years or over and is or has been since their 2 nd birthday looked after, the subject of a kinship care order or has or had a guardian appointed under section 7 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. “Eligible pre-school child” has the same meaning as in section 47 in part 6 of the 2014 Act. Eligible pre-school children also include 2 year olds, starting from the first term after their second birthday, with a parent in receipt of qualifying benefits; or, the first term after their parent starts receiving qualifying benefits [11] .

Eligible Child

11. The term “eligible child” is used throughout the Code to refer to a child in school education who has attained the age of 12 but not 16 and who has been assessed as having capacity (sufficient maturity and understanding) to exercise their rights under the Act, and that the education authority (or Tribunal) considers the wellbeing of the child would not be adversely affected by the child exercising their rights.

Young person

12. A young person [12] is now defined in the Act as a person who is aged 16 years or over, who is a pupil at a school, and has, since attaining the age of 16 years or over, remained a pupil at that or another school. In practice, it is unlikely that a young person will remain in school beyond their later teenage years. The new definition removes the difficulties which have arisen when a young person has remained in school between the age of 18 and 19 years. Throughout the code the term young people is used instead of young persons, for ease of understanding.



1980 Act

(Video) Scottish Government Debate: Excellence in Scottish Education - 29 September 2022

13. The term “parent” is also defined in the Act as having the same meaning as in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (“the 1980 Act”) and includes “guardian and any person who is liable to maintain or has parental responsibilities (within the meaning of section 1(3) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995) in relation to, or has care of, a child or young person.”

Education authority

14. Education authority is defined in the 1980 Act as a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994. In practical terms, the education authority and the local authority are the same entity. In general, the code refers to an education authority when considering a local authority’s education functions and to a local authority in respect of functions other than education ones such as social work services.

15. The Act applies generally to pre-school provision which is under the management of the education authority, and made for eligible pre-school children (see glossary). This provision also can include provision where an education authority have an arrangement with another provider, for example, where the authority have [13] arranged for children to attend a private nursery under a partnership agreement. In certain circumstances, described in chapter 3, the education authority have a duty to make provision for certain looked after and certain disabled children under the age of 3 years. [14]


16. The meaning of disability, used in the code, is as defined in the Equality Act 2010. This provides that a person has a disability if a person has a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day‑to‑day activities.

Looked After Children

17. The Act refers to looked after children within the meaning of section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which covers children looked after at home and children looked after away from home.

(Video) Education, Children and Young People Committee - 5 October 2022

18. Looked after at home: where the child or young person is subject to a compulsory supervision order made by a Children’s Hearing. The child or young person continues to live in their normal place of residence (i.e. often the family home).

19. Looked after away from home (i.e. away from their normal place of residence): where the child or young person is subject to a compulsory supervision order made by a Children’s Hearing with a condition of residence specifying a place other than the family home, or is provided with accommodation under section 25 (voluntary agreement) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 or is the subject of a Permanence Order (Part 2 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007)). The child or young person is cared for away from their normal place of residence, e.g. in a foster care placement, residential/children’s unit, a residential school, a secure unit or a kinship placement.

20. In addition to the above, a child or young person may be the subject of an Interim Compulsory Supervision Order ( ICSO) made by a Children’s Hearing or Sheriff. These are short term measures where the child or young person is considered looked after for the duration of the ICSO.

21. A glossary of terms used is provided at the end of the code.

References in the code

22. The code refers to the Act and its associated regulations. References to the Act are in the margin of each page, for example s1(1)(a) refers to Section 1, subsection 1(a). References to the titles of other legislation are also in the margin of each page.

Further information

23. Further information on the code of practice is available from:

(Video) Meet DLS: Who we are and how we can help

Support and Wellbeing Unit
Scottish Government
Victoria Quay


What counts as an additional support need? ›

Additional support needs can be both long- and short-term, or can simply refer to the help a child or young person needs in getting through a difficult period. Additional support needs can be due to: disability or health. learning environment.

What does additional learning support mean? ›

Additional support for learning means giving children extra help or support so they can get the most out of their education. A child or young person is said to have 'additional support needs' if they need more, or different support to what is normally provided in schools or pre-schools to children of the same age.

Who may require additional learning support? ›

This can include adapted learning materials, additional support and changes to the way that new information is delivered. Learners who can benefit from ALS include those with dyslexia, ADHD, autism spectrum conditions, sensory impairment and physical disabilities.

What are additional needs examples? ›

About Additional Support Needs
  • Autism. A lifelong difficulty with communication, social interaction and flexible thinking. ...
  • Cerebral Palsy. ...
  • Downs Syndrome. ...
  • Dyslexia. ...
  • Dyspraxia. ...
  • English as an Additional Language. ...
  • Emotional or behavioural difficulties. ...
  • Family circumstances and young carers.

What is the difference between additional needs and special needs? ›

In the schooling community children with additional needs are referred to as special needs students. There are support units within education departments that are known as Special Needs or Special Education Units.

What are the four threshold categories of support? ›

  • Tier 1: No additional needs.
  • Tier 2: Early help.
  • Tier 3: Children with complex multiple needs.
  • Tier 4: Children in acute need.

What are examples of learning support? ›

Academic support

This is facilitated through a range of learner support mechanisms - peer support sessions, tutorials/ contact sessions, teaching on assignments, support in the workplace (mentoring), email and Internet communications, for example.

Is ALN a disability? ›

Additional Learning needs, often referred to as 'ALN', is a new term used to describe learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for a child to learn compared to children of the same age.

How do you know when a child is in need of additional support? ›

A child is said to have 'additional support needs' if, for any reason, they need more, or different support to what is normally provided in schools or nurseries to children of the same age. Your child does not need to have a diagnosed condition to be entitled to additional support with their learning.

What is considered ALN? ›

The additional learning needs (ALN) system is the new system for supporting children and young people aged 0 to 25 in Wales with ALN. The ALN system is replacing the special educational learning needs (SEN) system and the system for supporting young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD).

What does ASN mean in school? ›

Special educational needs (SEN) | Additional support needs (ASN)

What are the levels of learning support? ›

We can classify three levels of learning support found in college: 1) accommodation, 2) services, and 3) comprehensive programs.

How do we handle learners with additional needs? ›

Successful Strategies for Teaching and Supporting Students with Disabilities
  1. Lean on others. ...
  2. Stay organized. ...
  3. Don't reinvent the wheel. ...
  4. Know that each student is unique. ...
  5. Keep instructions simple. ...
  6. Embrace advocacy. ...
  7. Create opportunities for success. ...
  8. Don't feel pressure to be perfect.

What are the 4 major types of special needs children? ›

The four major types of disabilities include physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional, and sensory impaired disorders. While many disabilities fall under one of these four umbrellas, many can fall under two or more.

What are the four areas of special needs? ›

The four broad areas of SEND need are:
  • communication and interaction.
  • cognition and learning.
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
  • sensory and/or physical needs.

What are the three categories of special needs? ›

There are four major types of special needs children: Physical – muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic asthma, epilepsy, etc. Developmental – down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, processing disorders. Behavioral/Emotional – ADD, bi-polar, oppositional defiance disorder, etc.

What is Section 17 of the children's Act? ›

The Children Act 1989

Section 17 of the Act places a general duty on all local authorities to 'safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need. ' Basically, a 'child in need' is a child who needs additional support from the local authority to meet their potential.

What is Section 47 of the children's Act? ›

Under section 47 of the Children Act 1989, where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that a child (who lives or is found in their area) is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, it has a duty to make such enquiries as it considers necessary to decide whether to take any action to safeguard or ...

What is level 3 of the threshold of need? ›

Level Three – Early Help (Complex Needs)

Help can be achieved using a multi-agency 'Team Around the Family' (TAF) approach within the Early Help Framework. An Early Help assessment and plan is needed to co-ordinate a SMART response for the child and family.

What methods can be used to support student learning? ›

Establishing the Optimal Learning Environment
  • Having compassion and empathy. ...
  • Creating a secure and dependable structure. ...
  • Ramping up the positive. ...
  • Supporting academic risk. ...
  • Teaching active listening. ...
  • Embedding strategy instruction. ...
  • Building collaborative relationships.

What do learning support teachers do? ›

A Learning Support Assistant (LSA) helps children and young people who need support within the classroom. This role assists Teachers to create environments where pupils with extra learning needs can make the most of their education.

How can you support learners with learning barriers? ›

If you have students who are struggling due to learning barriers, you might be looking for strategies to help them.
Some strategies you might recommend to your students include:
  1. Highlighting and underlining.
  2. Mind-mapping.
  3. Listening to audio of the lesson (if you allow recordings)
  4. Making and studying flashcards.

Can you claim benefits for learning difficulties? ›

DLA isn't just for children who are physically disabled. It can be given for a wide range of medical conditions including behavioural and mental health conditions as well as learning disabilities and developmental delay. You might be able to claim even if you wouldn't describe your child as 'disabled'.

What qualifies as learning disabled? ›

Learning disabilities are disorders that affect the ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually not recognized until the child reaches school age.

Is ADHD Classed as SEN? ›

Examples of special educational needs include:

Specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Moderate learning difficulties. Profound and multiple learning difficulties. Multi-sensory impairment.

What signs may indicate your child is struggling in school and may need more support? ›

If your child is experiencing changes in eating patterns, having problems sleeping, or is constantly complaining about pain, then they may be struggling in school.

What are three 3 things you can do to support a child who has had a toileting accident? ›

How should child care providers handle toileting accidents in young children?
  • Help the child change clothes. ...
  • Seal the soiled clothes in a plastic bag, and send them home with parents to wash.
  • Remind the child that he is not wearing a diaper and needs to use the toilet.
15 Aug 2019

Can a school refuse a child with SEN? ›

The Equality Act 2010 says schools mustn't discriminate against a pupil because of their disability. This is unlawful under the Act. In some situations, schools must also take positive steps so that disabled pupils can access and participate in the education and other activities they provide.

What is classed as disadvantaged? ›

The "disadvantaged" is a generic term for individuals or groups of people who: Face special problems such as physical or mental disability. Lack money or economic support.

What are the principles of inclusion for children with additional support needs? ›

All learners need friendship and support from people of their own age. All children and young people are educated together as equals in their local communities. Inclusive education is incompatible with segregated provision both within and outside mainstream education.

Is dyslexia an ASN? ›

There are approximately 184,000 children and young people in Scotland with ASN, or 26.6% of pupils. This could include having motor or sensory impairments, having learning difficulties such as dyslexia, having English as an additional language, or having emotional and social difficulties.

What is an ASN and how does it work? ›

An advanced shipment notice (ASN) is an electronic data interchange (EDI) message sent from the shipper to the receiver prior to the departure of the shipment from the shipper's facility. The message includes complete information about the shipment and its contents.

Is dyslexia an additional support need? ›

Support for people with dyslexia

If your child has dyslexia, they'll probably need extra educational support from their school. With appropriate support, there's usually no reason your child can't go to a mainstream school, although a small number of children may benefit from attending a specialist school.

What support do children need? ›

Kids must feel safe and sound, with their basic survival needs met: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm.

What are the 7 areas of learning? ›

Areas of learning
  • communication and language.
  • physical development.
  • personal, social and emotional development.
  • literacy.
  • mathematics.
  • understanding the world.
  • expressive arts and design.

What are the 6 key learning areas? ›

These include: Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Human Society and its Environment, Personal Development Health and Physical Education and the creative and practical arts.

What are the 4 areas of learning? ›

In the SEND Code of Practice, there are four broad areas of special educational needs, that should be identified and focused on within educational settings.
The four main SEND areas are:
  • Communication and Interaction.
  • Cognition and Learning.
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties.
  • Physical and/or Sensory Needs.

What are 3 examples of effective teaching strategies for a student with a learning disability? ›

  • Allow student to use a word processor with a spelling checker.
  • Grade written assignments for ideas only or provide two grades: one for content and one for technical skills.
  • Provide advance notice of written assignments. ...
  • Encourage student to use the Writing Lab and to get tutoring.

What is the role of additional learning support? ›

What is Additional Learning Support? A lot of the time, additional learning support involves one-to-one support from a teacher aide or classroom assistant. Additional learning support is about giving children the help they need to do well in school. That is, if they need any extra help at all.

What are examples of additional needs? ›

a parent's temporary absence, be it planned or unexpected ▪ a parent's illness ▪ family separation and divorce ▪ a death in the family. A very shy, insecure or very active child has additional needs also.

How teachers can support learners with special educational needs? ›

Provide Follow-Up Directions

After instructing the entire class, provide additional oral directions for a student with special needs. For instance, ask them whether they understood the directions and repeat them together. Provide follow-up directions in writing.

What does the Eyfs say about supporting children with additional needs? ›

The EYFS framework requires non-maintained providers to have arrangements in place for meeting children's special educational needs. They should have clear arrangements in place for identifying children's additional needs and to promote equal opportunities.

How do you support and extend a child's learning? ›

  1. 10 Strategies for Extending the Learning.
  2. Help Children See Themselves as Thinkers. ...
  3. Respond to Curiosity. ...
  4. Use Mirror Talk. ...
  5. Have Conversations. ...
  6. Inspire Imaginative Play. ...
  7. Solve Problems Together. ...
  8. Use Rich Vocabulary.
7 Apr 2014

What are additional learning needs? ›

Additional educational needs refers to various groups of children and young people who for a variety of reasons may face additional barriers to education and learning. This makes it more difficult for them to achieve their full potential. This is different to children with Special Educational Needs.

How do you identify a child in need of additional support? ›

Assessment plays a key role in identifying children and young people who have additional support needs. Assessment identifies and builds on strengths, whilst taking account of needs and risks. It will usually include discussion with parents and should build on other assessment information already available.

What is meant by additional family needs? ›

Cloth and shelter provide security from the general environmental torments and the foes. Additional needs: The secondary human needs, associated with career development and better living standard, are termed as additional needs.

What is providing supplementary or additional help and support? ›

Supplementary aids and services means aids, services and other supports to enable students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate in the least restrictive environment.

What is a Section 17 provision of services for children in need? ›

Section 17 of the Act places a general duty on all local authorities to 'safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need. ' Basically, a 'child in need' is a child who needs additional support from the local authority to meet their potential.

What is meant by additional needs? ›

If your child has a health or developmental condition that is impacting on their everyday life, this is often referred to as an additional need. It may be that from birth your child has faced some extra challenges or these may have become more obvious as your child has grown up.

What are the 4 basic needs of the family? ›

When families are able to meet basic needs such as food, housing, and medical care, parents and other caregivers experience less stress, which allows them to provide the critical support that children need to grow into healthy, productive adults.

What are the 10 basic needs? ›

Hierarchy of Needs
  • Physiological Survival Needs: Air. Water. Food. ...
  • Safety and Security Needs: Free from dangers.
  • Need for Belongingness. Social Acceptance. Social Interaction. Social Affiliation.
  • Need for Esteem. Self-worth, Competence, Skill(s) Appreciation, Recognition, Respect.
  • Need for Self-Actualization. Physical. Emotional.

What are support services for learners with special needs? ›

Examples of categories of services in IEPs include: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, and/or the provision of a classroom aide. Parents do not determine whether their child is eligible under the law, however, parents are entitled to participate in the development of the IEP.

How do you support students with special needs? ›

Successful Strategies for Teaching and Supporting Students with Disabilities
  1. Lean on others. ...
  2. Stay organized. ...
  3. Don't reinvent the wheel. ...
  4. Know that each student is unique. ...
  5. Keep instructions simple. ...
  6. Embrace advocacy. ...
  7. Create opportunities for success. ...
  8. Don't feel pressure to be perfect.

What is the role of the SNA in supporting inclusion? ›

The SNA scheme assists schools to support students with additional care needs. These students cannot attend or take part in school without extra assistance with, for example, toileting or mobility or because they have very complex medical or behavioural needs.

What does supplementary support mean? ›

Supplementary aids and services means aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate …

How can additional learning support help a child? ›

help taking part in class activities. extra encouragement in their learning, for example to ask questions or to try something they find difficult. help communicating with other children. support with physical or personal care difficulties, for example eating, getting around school safely or using the toilet.

What are the two roles of supplementary service? ›

The supplementary services in IMS therefore fulfill a dual role: (i) offering basic telephony for the subscribers and (ii) offering multimedia communication.


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