Published 15 December 2022

West Dunbartonshire Council has been praised for its efforts to ensure children and young people with additional support needs (ASN) are well supported. 

The National Autism Implementation Team (NAIT) highlighted the Council’s good practice in implementing the first phase of the Social Communication Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) model across all establishments.

The research-based educational approach aims to directly address the core challenges faced by children and persons with Autism and related disabilities, and their families.

 A report to Educational Services Committee shows in West Dunbartonshire 5281 of 12,226 pupils, 43 per cent, have an ASN.

The majority of children are supported in mainstream schools with 241 pupils educated in specialist settings and a small number supported in external placements.

In addition to the SCERTS model, all schools participate in the 2022-2023 Child Inclusion Research in Curriculum, Learning and Education (CIRCLE) Framework with in-service training for the school workforce to ensure high quality professional development. This is led by a dedicated CIRCLE Champion in all educational establishments.

Schools and ELCCS are also progressing the second year of the Council’s ASN strategy, building on the first year progress. The strategy, developed by a range of educational employees reflects the National Improvement Framework and has a range of actions around learning, teaching, attainment and achievement as well as considering the development of the ASN estate.

Councillor Clare Steel, Convener of Educational Services, said: “We are committed to putting the needs of vulnerable children and young people at the very heart of education. I am pleased to see the work being done in all our establishments to meet the needs of children and young people with ASN and their families who are being supported within and outwith schools and ELCCs.  It is also encouraging to know families and pupils with additional support needs are being listened to and working with us to provide a positive learning experience for vulnerable young people in West Dunbartonshire.”

Councillor John Millar, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said: “All our children and young people should receive the support they need to reach their full potential and it is encouraging to see the level of supports within our settings. We are committed to working with families and partner agencies to ensure we identify and meet the needs of children with ASN and continue to improve their educational experience.”

To meet the need for spaces to educate children and young people with additional support needs, Kilpatrick School will be expanded, and a report on redeveloping Riverside Early Learning Centre at St Martin’s Primary to support 36 young people will be brought to a future committee.