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Additional support needs in Scotland

The law that applied to SEN in Scotland is called the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. It sets out how children are supported to make sure they benefit from education and reach their full potential.

“The Act aims to ensure that all children and young people are provided with the necessary support to help them work towards achieving their fullest potential. It also promotes collaborative working among all those supporting children and young people.”

Supporting Children's Learning

The new law introduced a single structure for meeting the needs of children who require additional support to ensure they can make the most of their education. Under this law, any child who needs more or different support to what is normally provided in schools or pre-schools is said to have ‘additional support needs'. Even if your child is not considered to have special educational needs, they could still get additional support.

Children may need extra help with their education for a wide variety of reasons. A child's education could be affected by issues resulting from:

  • Social or emotional difficulties
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Problems at home
  • Bullying
  • Being particularly gifted
  • A sensory impairment or communication problem
  • A physical disability
  • A learning difficulty
  • Being a young carer
  • Moving frequently
  • Having English as an additional language
You can get a copy of the act here.

The Code of Practice, which contains detailed guidance for practitioners, is available here

Additional guidance can also be found from the Scottish Advice Service for Additional Support for Learning at
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