Renfrewshire Council

Additional support for learning (ASN)

Information on additional support needs for children and young people in a Renfrewshire nursery or school.

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Additional support for learning 

Additional support for learning 

Definition of  Additional Support Needs (ASN) 

An additional support need is where a child or young person is not able to learn due to a barrier, such as: 

  • having a disability or health issue 
  • difficult family or care circumstances 
  • struggle with the learning environment 
  • having social or emotional issues. 

Children and young people can have an additional support need at any time. Being identified as having an additional support need does not necessarily mean they will need that support for the rest of their time at school.  

Types of ASN 

Your child might have an additional support need if they have any of the following and are struggling with their learning. This is not an exhaustive list, so please speak to your child's school if you feel they need additional support. 

Health needs 

  • have a hearing impairment 
  • be in hospital recovering from an illness 
  • be a wheelchair user 
  • have a mental illness 
  • have asthma or an allergy 
  • have speech difficulties. 

Care and protection 

  • are separated from family 
  • stay at home to support the family. 

Learning support 

  • have dyslexia 
  • learn at a faster or slower pace than classmates 
  • have fallen behind in classwork because they were off school. 

Emotional difficulties 

  • have difficulties behaving in class 
  • struggle to make friends 
  • be unhappy at home or at school 
  • are being bullied 
  • have a drink or drug problem. 

Family circumstances 

  • have parents who are separated 
  • are dealing with the death of someone close 
  • have a member of your family or someone close to your child who is ill 
  • be a school-aged parent 
  • speak English as an additional language. 

Identifying ASN 

Schools have a duty to identify and try to address additional support needs in pupils. If your child is struggling to learn and they have one or several of the learning barriers listed in the above criteria, then they may require additional support for learning. 

Having any one of these learning barriers does not necessarily mean that your child will need continued additional support for learning, however you should always talk to your child's school to discuss further. 

Find my school's contact details: 

ASN support 

How the school supports your child will depend on the barriers they are facing to learning. Your child may need support for a short while, such as these examples, or they may require ongoing, longer-term or more complicated support and require a support plan

  • "I was being picked on at school by some older girls. It was really worrying me. I couldn't do my work. I spoke to a teacher about it and now I have an older buddy in school. It's helped a lot." 

  • "My mum and dad drink a lot and often the house is noisy. It's really difficult to do my homework. My friends knew I was having this problem and they told the teacher. Now I have extra time in school to do my work." 

  • "I was getting really bored in class because the work was too easy. I always got in trouble because I was finished first and started mucking about. My mum spoke to the teacher on parents' night and now I get harder work and I don't get bored." 

  • "My parents moved so I had to change school just before my prelims. I was struggling to catch up with new work and had no friends to help me. My guidance teacher arranged extra notes for me, individual time with some teachers and told me about the study club. It's really helped." 


If your child needs a lot of help, then a plan might be made to sort out the support they need. 

There are two types of plans: 

  • Pupil Support Plans (PSP) 
  • Coordinated Support Plans (CSP).

The decision on which plan is best for your child will depend on the length of the need, the affect it has on your child's learning, and that the school needs to work with other agencies to support your child's learning, such as the council, NHS and another other appropriate agencies. 

Your child may also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that details the strategies and measures in place to support your child's learning. This may sit within another plan if necessary.   

When a support plan is being developed, you and your child will be invited to a meeting at the school so you can tell them your views on the support measures required.  Your child can also bring along a supporter to help them express their views, such as a friend their age or an adult they are comfortable speaking for them. 

Both types of support plans will detail the support to be provided and your views on how we can support your child. We will always take your views into account when deciding how best to support your child.  

Transition support 

A transition is when your child moves into a new stage of their education journey. There are four transitions: 

  • starting nursery 
  • starting primary 
  • starting secondary 
  • leaving school. 

Children and young people with ASN will need enhance support when they transition from one stage to another. Our nurseries and schools will have robust planning to support each individual. Please speak to your child's nursery or school to discuss any concerns you may have around transitions.  

Dispute resolution 

If you disagree with how your child is being supported for their ASN, or if you are a pupil and aged 16 or older, you should speak to your head teacher and tell them your concern. 

We will make all efforts to resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, however if you feel that it has not been resolved and the dispute meets the requirement, we can use an independent mediation service as set out by Scottish Government. Your school will tell you how to do this. 

We will always seek to comply with the decisions made by an external adjudicator even though the council has no legal obligation to do so. If you remain dissatisfied, you may also consider referral to the courts, to Scottish Government ministers or the Public Sector Ombudsman.  

You always have the right for your case to be sent to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.  

Please note if your request is in relation to a placing request, you should make an appeal using the council's placing request appeals process.

Code of practice 

We follow the national Code of Practice as directed by the Scottish Government.

You have a right to request assessments are made of your child's medical or psychological needs. If any needs are established, we will review the extent of the barrier and detail the appropriate measures to be taken. 

We must meet the deadlines for completing and informing you of the results of any assessments, including any additional support you child may need. 

External support  

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