MORE than 5,000 children across West Dunbartonshire have been recognised as having additional support needs (ASN), according to a new report submitted to the council.

The latest figures show that out of the 13,800 school pupils and 1,485 nursery pupils, 5,273 have ASN and are supported mostly in mainstream schools.

A further 242 pupils are supported in a specialist setting as they require a more specific learning environment.

West Dunbartonshire’s ASN schools are made up of one base for 0-18-year-olds with complex ASN, two secondary bases and four primary bases.

Temporary classroom accommodation in the Kilpatrick School campus is expected to be installed for the start of the new school year providing an additional three extra classrooms and a sensory room.

It is hoped these new classrooms will allow children with ASN currently placed outside West Dunbartonshire to receive an education in their own local authority area as long as it is suitable. 

An update was brought before the education committee last week where senior education officer Claire Cusick stated that the figures were similar nationally.

Ms Cusick said: “I was just looking this morning at a national report into additional support needs and it was clear that the figures nationally compare with our figures and I think what we have to bear in mind is that additional support needs can be a range of factors.

“It can be long term, short term, bereavement, disabilities. It is a moveable post but they do reflect the national figures.”

Councillor Karen Conaghan then asked about the facility being developed at Kilpatrick.

She said: “Will the increased capacity at this site be made available to children we have placed outwith the local authority?

“Will we now be able to accommodate them in West Dunbartonshire ourselves? I think it would be best for them to be cared for as close to home as possible.”

It was confirmed it is the ambition that children from the area are supported within West Dunbartonshire if that is the best place for them.

Ms Cusick added: “With regards to children and young people currently placed outside the local authority, if we felt on review that was the right thing to do to move the young person to one of our own settings, we will do that.”