Boys aged eight twice as likely as girls to need learning support


A new study shows boys aged eight are twice as likely as girls to need additional support for learning.

The analysis of ScotCen’s ‘Growing up in Scotland’ study shows boys are far more likely than girls to need additional support for learning; at age eight, nearly one in five (18%) boys compared to less than one in ten (8%) girls.

Findings show that one in every eight (13%) Scottish child aged eight is reported as having an additional support need by their parents. Growing up in Scotland (GUS) is a longitudinal study which tracks the lives of thousands of children and their parents from birth.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 places duties on local authorities, and other agencies, to provide additional support where needed to enable any child or young person to benefit from education.

Those children from lower income families are more likely to have an additional support need; 17% from the bottom income quintile compared with just 9% from the top income quintile.

Similarly, children living in the most deprived areas are more likely to have an additional support need, 15% compared with 11% living in the least deprived areas.

The findings identify a number of reasons why children require additional support needs amongst the 13% of children requiring additional support:

  • 28% have a speech problem
  • 24% have a learning disability
  • 23% have social or behavioural problems
  • 22% have dyslexia
  • 16% have an autistic disorder

Paul Bradshaw, Head of Longitudinal Surveys at ScotCen said: “The findings show that a significant proportion of today’s youngsters are in need of additional support from an early age.

"The challenges they face are varied, aren’t always straightforward to manage and it’s likely that they’ll have a significant impact on their adult lives, so it’s important that every effort is made to provide this support where possible.

"The earlier extra support for children’s development is identified and delivered the more likely it is they’ll succeed throughout childhood and into adolescence.”

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