Part 1 Appendix 1

What Gives Rise to Additional Support Needs?

(Taken from Supporting Children’s Learning: Code of Practice, 2010)

There is a wide range of factors which may lead to some children and young people having a need for additional support. These fall broadly into the four overlapping themes – learning environment, family circumstances, disability or health need, and social and emotional factors – and are described below.

Schools are aware of their responsibilities to provide an effective and efficient education for all children and young people on their roll, including those with additional support needs. However, the educational experiences of some children may not take sufficient account of their individual needs and circumstances to ensure that they derive appropriate benefit from school education. A need for additional support may arise where the learning environment is a factor. For example, pupils may experience barriers to their learning, achievement and full participation in the life of the school. These barriers may be created as the result of factors such as the ethos and relationships in the school, inflexible curricular arrangements and approaches to learning and teaching which are inappropriate because they fail to take account of additional support needs. For example,highly able pupils may not be challenged sufficiently or those with specific reading or writing problems may not be receiving the appropriate support to help them make progress overcoming their difficulties.

Family circumstances may give rise to additional support needs; for example, where a child’s or young person’s home life is disrupted by poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse, parental alcohol or drug misuse or parental mental or physical health problems. Additional support needs may arise where the pupil herself is a young mother or is helping to care for disabled parents or siblings. The child or young person may be being looked after by the local authority or have recently left care or be in need of measures to secure their care and protection. In these circumstances support from social work services may be needed to ensure that the child or young person is able to benefit from education.

Issues relating to a disability or health need may mean that additional support is required; for example,where a child or young person has a motor or sensory impairment, specific language impairment, autism spectrum disorder or has learning difficulties. Mental health problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression can disrupt learning and may lead to additional support being required from child and adolescent mental health services to ensure benefit from school education.

Social and emotional factors may also give rise to a need for additional support. A child being bullied or bullying may need additional support. A child experiencing racial discrimination may need additional support. A child with behavioural difficulties may require additional support to develop positive behaviour in school and to stop offending in the community.

The Act provides the legal framework underpinning the system for supporting children and young people in their school education,and their families. This framework is based on the idea of additional support needs. This broad and inclusive term applies to children or young people who, for whatever reason, require additional support, long or short term, in order to help them make the most of their school education and to be included fully in their learning. Children or young people may require additional support for a variety of reasons and may include those who:

  • have motor or sensory impairments;
  • are being bullied;
  • are particularly able or talented;
  • have experienced a bereavement;
  • are interrupted learners;
  • have a learning disability;
  • are looked after by a local authority;
  • have a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia;
  • are living with parents who are abusing substances;
  • are living with parents who have mental health problems;
  • have English as an additional language;
  • are not attending school regularly;
  • have emotional or social difficulties;
  • are on the child protection register;
  • are young carers.

Any child or young person may have additional support needs arising from more than one of these factors outlined above. And, any of the above factors can also lead to poor or non attendance at school and result in further barriers to learning.

However, the overriding consideration for managers and practitioners in schools and services is to agree strategies and the means to overcome barriers to learning, having carefully identified the true nature of these barriers.

 

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