Consultation gives 90% approval to ASN Strategy

COUNCILLORS WILL THIS week be asked to agree a new Additional Support Needs (ASN) strategy for schools after hearing that a consultation returned 90% agreement.

A report being placed before the Children and Young People’s Services committee on Wednesday brings Councillors up to date on what has been at times a contentious issue for the last council administration.

When the new ASN strategy was put to councillors in March, they approved it should go forward to a public consultation – they will learn this week that ended on May 8, and that analysis showed 90% of those who responded agreed with the aims of the strategy “To identify principles and structures that make the most effective and efficient use of resources to meet the needs of pupils with ASN and, in doing so, achieve the best outcome for them.”

Parents iwere invited to ASN discussion groups.

The report authored by Inclusion Manager Pat Mclennan did, however, show that only around two-thirds felt they had been “fully consulted” in developing the strategy, adding: “Of the 34% who did not feel fully consulted and made a comment, it was apparent that, in spite of publicity through schools, letters, media, website and Facebook, many of these were unaware of the initial consultation meetings where participants were asked to share their views and ideas.”

Noting that an equality impacts assessment had been carried out, the committee will be asked to approve the ASN.

Last year parents with ASN children at several schools challenged the local authority over its future plans, which including in some cases withdrawing one-to-one ASN at schools while increasing provision in others.

Another report before the committee this week will show the large increase in ASN needs in Moray over the last six years.

The public can view the papers being considered by the committee.