GREATER awareness of children’s special needs is a very good thing indeed. If teachers are getting better at spotting problems with autism or literacy, it means kids can get the extra help they need.
That’s one reason why Edinburgh has seen a huge increase in additional support for pupils.
Greater numbers of children speaking English as a foreign language is another.
In the past seven years the number of children getting extra help has soared from under 2000 to 10,600.
That is a huge increase. But it should be remembered that during this time Edinburgh has seen a large boost to its population.
This is a great city. No wonder people want to come and live here.
But the authorities have to make sure our schools are equal to the challenges they face.
That goes for special needs pupils of all kinds, whether the problem is educational or simply because of a language difference.
This comes at a time when schools budgets are under severe strain.
Schools are quite simply bursting at the seams, with staff struggling to cope.
Teachers report they are “run ragged” in “degraded” learning environments.
Classroom assistants who might usually be able to help with additional needs pupils are often busy elsewhere, taking classes to cover for a shortage of teachers.
These children are full of potential. They just need a bit of extra time and support to help them show the world what they can do.
It would be a tragedy if a lack of resources meant some of this city’s kids were not able to bloom in class.
There’s no doubt about it – education services are creaking in the Capital.
Our children are Edinburgh’s future. They deserve all the help they can get.
Only then can they fulfil their potential, and this city’s potential.