Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity (CREID)

Seminar ─ The Future of ASN in Scotland: Challenges and Prospects | Postponed and to be rescheduled

This seminar has now been postponed and will be rescheduled in due course.


Focus of the seminar

Over the past two decades, since the publication of the Scottish Government report into the education of children with severe low incidence disabilities (the Riddell report) in 1997, there have been major changes in policy and practice for children with additional support needs (ASN). The 1997 report recommended: strengthening Scotland’s commitment to inclusive education; enhancing parents’ and children’s rights; promotion of inter-agency and cross-authority working; reviewing the status of grant aided special schools; clarification of responsibilities on the delivery of speech and language therapy and administration of medicine in school.

Following this report, the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000 established the presumption of mainstreaming and the right of the child to education. Shortly afterwards, the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 made a series of radical changes including: replacing the term special educational needs with the much wider umbrella concept of additional support needs (ASN); introducing a new statutory plan, the Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP), in place of the Record of Needs; and strengthened the redress rights of parents and young people through the establishment of the ASN Tribunal and independent mediation. Subsequently, under the terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, the rights of children with ASN aged 12-15 with capacity have been boosted, so that their rights almost exactly reflect those of parents and young people. According to the Scottish Government, Scotland now has the most progressive rights regime for children and young people with ASN in Europe. 

Despite these radical measures, questions continue to be asked about the direction of travel within the field of ASN, reflected in a plethora of reports and enquiries. These include the Doran Review on the education of children with complex additional support needs, the Scottish Government consultation on the presumption of mainstreaming, two inquiries by the Scottish Parliament Education and Skills Committee into the operation of additional support for learning, and a further review led by Angela Morgan into additional support for learning.

ASN is clearly an unsettled policy arena and this seminar explores current challenges and future prospects.  Following the seminar, a briefing will summarise the challenges identified and recommendations for action. We hope the seminar will be attended by a wide audience including academics and students, policy makers, public and voluntary sector practitioners and young people.


Chair: Dr Mike Gibson OBE

Time Session
9:15-9:45 Arrival and coffee
Critical areas of Additional Support for Learning policy

Professor Sheila Riddell, Centre for Research in Education Inclusion & Diversity (CREID), University of Edinburgh

Parents’ and children’s rights in the field of ASN: challenges of the autonomy principle.

10:05-10:15 Questions
10:15 - 10:35

Professor Lani Florian, Bell Chair of Education, University of Edinburgh

Inclusion in Scottish Schools: issues and prospects.

10:35-10:45 Questions

Professor Gillean McCluskey, Chair of School Exclusion and Restorative Practice, University of Edinburgh

Exclusion from school in Scotland and across the UK: Contrasts and questions.

11:05-11:15 Questions
11:15-11:35 Coffee break

Group discussion

Identification of three major challenges for ASN policy and three recommendations for action.

12:15-13:15 Lunch
Developments in Dispute Resolution

May Dunsmuir, President of the Additional Support Needs Tribunal (Health and Education Chamber)

The development of the ASN Tribunal over the past fifteen years.


Lesley Fairley, Director Common Ground Mediation and Sandra Mitchell, Resolve: ASL Mediation Manager

Independent mediation in Scotland.

13:50-14:00 Questions

Developments for specific groups of children with ASN

  • Professor John Ravenscroft, Chair of Childhood Visual Impairment, University of Edinburgh

    • Children with visual impairments

  • Paul Nisbet, Director of CALL Scotland, University of Edinburgh
    • Children with communication needs
  • Rachel O’Neil, Lecturer in Deaf Education, University of Edinburgh
    • Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Kenny Graham, Head of Education, Falkland House School
    • Children with autistic spectrum disorder

Group discussion

Identification of a further three challenges for ASN policy and recommendations for action.

15:45-16:00 Final comments and close


May 13 2020 -

Seminar ─ The Future of ASN in Scotland: Challenges and Prospects | Postponed and to be rescheduled

Professor Lani Florian, Professor Gillean McCluskey and Professor Sheila Riddell will speak at this event.

Moray House School of Education and Sport
Charteris Land
Room 5.11