Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Diagnosing need and reducing workload

At a meeting of the Education and Skills Committee on 2nd November 2016 Ross Greer brought up the issue that parents` requests for diagnosis and support for their learning disabled children are sometimes going unheard. There are also huge disparities between local authorities as to the figures. West Dunbartonshire has identified about 35 percent of young people as having an additional support need. The figure for North Lanarkshire is now 5 percent. He wanted to know if this difference was due to children going undiagnosed because of budget constraints.

John Swinney responded that there is a statute that has to be followed by local authorities to ensure that the needs of young people with additional support needs are met in all circumstances.
"There are various interventions to assess the capacity and capability of education authorities in fulfilling that obligation. I will certainly look carefully at the issues that Mr Greer has raised to ensure that I am satisfied that the needs of young people are being met..."

If Mr Swinney is sincere about wanting to reduce teachers` workloads, as well as binning the wellbeing and GIRFEC nonsense and the hundreds of Es and Os, he needs to address the issue of `inclusion`.

My granddaughter who is sixteen attends a primary school one afternoon per week as part of a work experience scheme. There are three children in the primary 3 class who have behavioural difficulties and never a week goes by when one or more of these children has a meltdown. None of the children has a support worker. So apart from my granddaughter who is still attending school herself and is untrained, there is no support for the teacher. It is not an ideal situation for the three children or the rest of the class who are being disturbed.

It is possible that one or more of these children could benefit from a support worker but if their needs are not diagnosed it is the teacher who is left to cope. Unfortunately, in this particular class that is proving too much.

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