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Under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004, education authorities must identify and provide the support that their pupils require to overcome barriers to learning. That includes the additional support that is required by children and young people who are able pupils.
The Scottish Government also funds the Scottish network for able pupils to support development and sharing of good practice in supporting such pupils.
As the cabinet secretary will know, at several Royal Society of Edinburgh events in recent years there have been interesting discussions about how best to support particularly gifted and talented pupils from all parts of the country and all social backgrounds in order to ensure that they receive specialist teaching that is appropriate to their needs. Will the cabinet secretary acknowledge that gifted children in whatever academic discipline are vital to development of Scotland’s economy? Could he update Parliament on what support is being provided?
I acknowledge the point that Alison Harris makes, and I recognise the importance of able and gifted pupils’ being able to make a significant contribution and to fulfil all their potential in Scotland.
The Government currently funds the
Scottish network for able pupils, which is a network of support to schools and teachers, to assist, through sharing of ideas and practice, the enhancement of educational support for such young people. SNAP also runs workshops for young people and provides advice to parents to assist them in that respect. A number of resources have been developed for practitioners and parents to help them to support highly able children, including a number of what are called SNAPshots, which can be used as a starting point for developing activities for highly able learners.