ASN (Scotland)

Additional support needs (ASN) is the term used in Scotland for children with additional learning needs, the same as SEND in England or ALN in Wales.

There are approximately 184,000 ASN children and young people in Scotland, or 26.6% of pupils. Additional support needs might arise from a child's learning environment, health or disability, family circumstances or social and emotional factors.

All education authorities in Scotland have duties to identify, provide for and review the additional support needs of their pupils. This was laid out in the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Scotland Act 2004.

A school's responsibilities

Education authorities have a number of duties under the 2004 Act. They should:

  • make adequate and efficient provision for the additional support required for each child or young person with additional support needs
  • publish, review and update, as necessary, specified information about their ASN policy
  • provide parents of children with additional support needs with all of the information they are required to publish under the Act
  • provide those children or young people, who need one, with a co-ordinated support plan and keep this plan under regular review
  • provide independent and free mediation services for those parents and young people who want to use such services and publish information on these services.

The Supporting Children’s Learning statutory Code of Practice explains in detail the responsibilities that education authorities and other agencies have to support children’s and young people’s learning. 

Find out more about ASN

A useful resource for schools in Scotland looking for advice on supporting their ASN pupils is Enquire. It is an additional support needs advice service for professionals, families and children, where schools can find lots of information about their responsibilities and where to find support.



What schools can do

  • Create a whole-school environment emphasising inclusion and cooperation.
  • Have high aspirations for all children.
  • Deliver social and emotional skills programmes which aim to build resilience:
    • With a learning plan, or a co-ordinated support plan, that builds skills step-by-step to improve success and gives children a chance to test skills out and receive encouragement and feedback.
  • Develop children’s understanding of difference and ensure all children value difference in others.
    • Inclusiveness can be developed through good quality Health and Wellbeing lessons promoting relationships and diversity.
  • Support children with ASN to feel accepted and to belong.
  • Tackle bullying and discrimination.
  • See children as a whole rather than focusing just on their disability or illness.
  • Work closely with parents and carers of SEN children, helping them feel involved in their child's learning.
  • Be alert to early signs of escalating risk to mental health and mobilise protective factors to prevent further escalation.
  • Provide children with extra support, if needed (e.g. through pastoral care/school counselling, school nurses or through referral to community-based support.

More information on children with additional support needs and disability

Autistic spectrum



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