Scotland4kids The Big Interview – The Mothers Fighting for ASN Reform

Groups of parents across Scotland are coming together on Wednesday (21 June) to show support and share their own experiences on ASN (Additional Support Needs) education.

ASN places are limited in Scotland, with only 19 schools available meaning that some children are entering an educational setting not suited for their specific needs.

The group, A.S.N Reform Scotland want education to be inclusive and are protesting on behalf of their own children, and others affected, to protect and call for a reform to ASN provision.

They are calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to provide adequate funding to support children with additional support needs in all Scottish schools (primary, secondary and special).

Michelle Craig is one parent who will be joining in the protest at Scottish Parliament Building, Holyrood in Edinburgh on Wednesday, 21 June from 11am to 3pm.

She explained that she feels passionate about the issue not only because of her own family struggles but the hundreds of families in similar positions throughout the country.

She told Scotland4kids: “I am keen to support families who are at the start of their journey and to be able to point them in the right direction for support but also to be part of a group who is challenging the government and wanting a complete overhaul of the education offered to ASN children in Scotland.”

Michelle hopes that she will be able to help others through her own experience with accessing support for ASN provision. During her daughter Amelia’s third year of primary school there were clear signs she was beginning to struggle within her school environment.

“At this point there was no diagnosis in place, but a referral was made into CAMHS. Amelia experienced a lot of difficulties at play time and break time and was being labelled as a ‘naughty child’.”

Amelia received a diagnosis of ADHD but was offered no extra support in her classroom setting Michelle said.

“There was no extra support, and she would often run away from school after becoming so dysregulated and overwhelmed.

“This of course took a big toll on the family too with both myself, and my husband in full time work.”

When Amelia was 10, she received a further diagnosis of ASD which then allowed the school to apply for exceptional hours to support her which was 10 per week.

“This was great in theory” Michelle added, “but the reality was that if there were staff shortages or other children struggling, they were prioritised, and hours were then taken away from Amelia.”

Michelle and her husband had to fight to make sure their daughter received the right setting for her high school place.

Initially their application was rejected which they then appealed, only to have this rejected too.

“We were distraught as a family and turned to the Govan Law Centre where we had to pay £7,000 if the case for Amelia’s education went all the way to tribunal.

“We agreed to go ahead, how can you put a price on your child’s future?”

Michelle Craig from Falkirk is joining the A.S.N Reform gathering outside Scottish Parliament, Holyrood on Wednesday (21 June).

So, Michelle and her husband followed the process and applied for a placement themselves and picked a school, once this was rejected it meant their solicitor could become involved.

An educational psychologist assessed Amelia despite this happening only three months prior her mum explained.

“We already had a full report stating that an ASC provision would best meet Amelia’s needs due to her difficulties.

“The day finally came for the decision, and we were informed that Amelia’s application was rejected again despite a very detailed Educational Psychologist report outlining she required an ASC provision.”

The family instructed the solicitor who in turn lodged the appeal to the tribunal.

Two days before Christmas 2022, the family received a call from the head of the ASN department informing them that a place had become available for Amelia in the school of choice.

“We, as parents, have a lot of experience due to our work at attending TAC meetings and challenging decisions that we made.

“However, we have found the process extremely stressful, we have had to fight for years to get to where we are.

“But the person who has struggled the most and continues to do so, is Amelia and despite all of this, she wants to attend school and start the day with a skip in her step.

“We have no idea what high school will bring for our daughter, but we are confident at the minute that she is not in with the best chance she can of achieving her potential.”

Speaking about her reason for becoming involved with the A.S.N Reform group, Michelle said: “There are not enough places in Scotland for all children who need a ASN place as there are only 19 SEN schools available. As a result, these children are being placed into mainstream school where they are struggling to cope”.

“These children are not getting the right support to allow them to flourish which is down to schools being under-resourced. Schools are also lacking in awareness and training on what are neurodiversity’s and what are the best strategies to support the children, leaving the children feeling unsafe.

She added: “Children’s’ mental health is being impacted too, I know that my own child has suffered with high levels of anxiety due to not coping with the demands of mainstream school and often experience physical symptoms of anxiety such as sickness.

“These children are having to mask all day and are returning home physically and mentally exhausted.”

A.S.N Reform are hoping for the government to listen to them, review the current system that’s in place, and agree that it needs some serious changes.

“We hope they will contribute more funding into the school settings and open more SEN schools to support our children.

“All children deserve the opportunity to flourish and thrive within the education setting and unfortunately if you are neurodivergent or have other disabilities, what is on offer, is simply not fit for purpose. These children do not have the opportunity to thrive and reach their potential.”

The group have been inundated with families in similar positions and have received lots of support from MSP’s who are also joining them on Wednesday.

The group are asking people to sign the online petition,





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