Dramatic fall in number of support teachers in Lothian as numbers of students needing additional support rises

Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), have revealed that there has been a dramatic decline of support available for students with additional special needs across the Lothian area.


Between the periods of 2012-2017, the total number of teachers who specialised with learning support and ASN in primary schools has dropped from 112 to 62. In secondary schools, this figure has gone from 151 to 109 employed specialists.


Crucially, whilst teacher figures have declined, the number of students categorised as requiring additional needs has increased massively. In primary schools, between 2012 and 2017, the figure of students requiring additional support needs has jumped from 8099 to 13653, whilst in secondary schools this figure has climbed from 6393 to 11707.


This unanswered increase has put a massive strain on the available teachers and resources. Primary schools now have figures suggesting around 1 qualified teacher for every 221 students requiring additional help. In secondary schools, this figure is around 1 qualified teacher for every 108 students.


The increase in identification needs to be met with an increase in provisions. Both students and teachers are hurt by the failure to do so.


Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, said:


“Education is so important for a young person’s development and anyone who requires help in school should get it.


“It is clear, however, that not every student in Lothian will be getting the support that they need.


“The SNP government have presided over a teacher recruitment crisis over the last 11 years and pupils are the ones who are being let down.


“Our young people deserve better.”



Miles Briggs