Needs of pupils have increased and extra support is needed

Needs of pupils have increased and extra support is needed

Several witnesses suggested that there had been an increase in the number of children and young people requiring additional support as a result of the pandemic. Examples of those needing extra support included children and young people who have— 1. not been able to engage in online learning; 2. experienced increased anxiety both during lockdown and upon returning to the school, college or university environment; and 3. transitioned during the pandemic, whether into primary school, secondary school or post-secondary school destinations. In their evidence EIS, SCSC and NASUWT highlighted pressures that existed, pre-pandemic, in respect of delivering support to children and young people with additional support needs (ASN). EIS stated— "Covid has certainly exacerbated additional support needs across the board, but we already faced acute needs in ASN prior to Covid." In its evidence to the Committee, CELCIS raised concerns that, as a result of the pandemic, more children and families will require targeted support and intervention, at a time when there is even more demand and squeeze on resources and capacity for staff.

Points

The focus on support needs to extend beyond lockdown as we recognise the lasting impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have had on communities and individuals. We need funding which is specifically used to improve universal, targeted and specialist support in schools. We need Scottish Government, universities and Education Scotland to work with practitioners to showcase the practice which is having the most impact and allow it to be replicated across the education system.

because these examples above are exactly the experiences of us.

We see huge gaps in learning in schools. Young people who were unable to engage in online learning have particularly been affected but nobody has gone through this unscathed. Gaps in learning, poor mental health (particularly anxiety and depression) and low levels of resilience in young people and their families are my greatest concerns.

The difference in the home learning experiences, combined with personal situation, health, teacher circumstances/ interpretation, added to the confusion of mask wearing / hand cleaning - heightened alert mode. So much added to an already fragmented experience for yp.

There is insufficient staff numbers to meet the needs of disabled children. As a result teachers are removed from classrooms to assist with moving and transfers along with personal care tasks. This is a total lack of respect and dignity for those disabled children and constant disruption for the children losing their teacher during class time. This has been raised over and over with the school, local authority and politicians. I am told this is not what is happening. I am imagining this

Children with Long Covid now have ASN requirements and yet there are still none in place. Families are struggling to access support for their children whose education has been enormously disrupted. My daughter currently has no learning at all. Hasn't done since October 2021. The local authority will not provide home tutoring despite Long Covid leaving her housebound. What are we to do?

This is evident in my own family. My children are in S1 & S3. Both are struggling, S3 has not managed to access education for almost 2 years and S1 is increasingly withdrawing

Transition from nursery to primary school has always been a dreadful process where parents and children are clearly not at the centre of the process. Covid has highlighted how awful these processes are - the situation worse now for many children who have had limited access to ELC, socialising and playing. Dramatic change needs to happen at local authority level - parents should be leading transition processes alongside their child - not the authority

The normal stresses of teenage life are still here but are coupled with an anxiety about what might happen/change/missing out on school/people being ill. Teachers off/ missed classes/shorter curriculums all means missed learning.

Yes the need is and has always been there but concerns were raised previously in Angela Morgan report and ignored and with the majority of asn pupils being ‘provided for’ under guidance of a childs plan and not a legal document this gives local authorities a get out of jail free card. Recent cuts to local authority budgets have now removed all support and local authorities not even engaging with parent or pupil to formulate child plans, these are documents for the benefit of council not pupil

We now have a lost generation of children with huge mental health issues and who are well behind in education.

Many children entering primary school will have lower than expected language abilities, due to limited social interactions during the pandemic and increased screentime. Schools need to be prepared for the new intakes of Primary 1 children needing additional support to catch up on basic language skills. This is especially critical at P1 but will also affect other years of course.

I have 2 children both on CAMHS waiting lists. One has been waiting over 2 years for and appointment. The other has been waiting over 2 years for an assessment for ASD and ADHD. Nether have had help or support through covid. I have had to and continue to have to fight for support for them.

The lockdowns and covid in general have had a catastrophic effect on socialisation for young children, in particular autistic & ASL kids, it's manifesting in schools but is a wider issue that encompasses e.g. delayed diagnosis and lack of support for neurodivergent conditions.

My own 5 year old has major anger meltdowns at home. He can read chapter books and do his timetables but when it comes to understanding and coping with his emotions he simply can't and we are at a loss at home. My job deals with supporting self regulation of children with complex needs and yet I am struggling to help my own child. There is no help other than parenting classes lead by people who have less training than I do.

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