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Summary

  1. The environment committee takes evidence on the impact of Brexit on environmental policies
  2. MSPs debate thyroid testing, diagnosis and treatment
  3. The Scottish government leads a debate on veterans
  4. A Labour MSP leads a member's debate on autistic pupils

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    Labour MSP Elaine Smith
    Image caption: Labour MSP Elaine Smith shared her story of hypothyroidism and getting T3

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 4 December 2018.

    On a day when most eyes were on Westminster, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing raised concerns about the impact of Brexit on the environment.

    Later during a debate on hypothyroidism, Labour MSP Elaine Smith revealed she had had an underactive thyroid and was originally given T4, but then was prescribed T3 which led to her coming "back from the dead".

    The Labour MSP told the chamber thyroid patients having to buy T3 from abroad, rather than "lying down and dying", was not acceptable.

    The Scottish government must instruct health boards that they cannot withhold T3, or take patients off this drug, as that would be a "death sentence", she said.

  2. The debate on experiences of autistic children at school draws to a close

    Mr Swinney

    Mr Swinney says the Conservatives come to the chamber making a plea for more resources and he asks them to reflect on spending choices.

    The education secretary explains the set of financial circumstances since 2010 have been acutely challenging due to UK government decisions.

    He argues that the Tories have to be prepared to back budgets that provide funds for additional support for learning.

    Mr Swinney says local government spent 4.5% more, in cash terms, on additonal support for learning.

  3. What is the point of the law if it is not enforced, asks Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson asks if things are set out in law and there are legal obligations then what is the point of the law if it is not enforced and honoured.

    Mr Swinney does not dispute that point, but warns that if parliament wishes the government to intervene in local authority education policy it should consider this actively.

    Tory MSP Oliver Mundell asks if the government will support for the childrens' commissioner should step in.

    The education secretary says that is up to the children's commissioner.

  4. Background: Scottish Strategy for Autism

    The Scottish Strategy for Autism

    The Scottish government published the Scottish Strategy for Autism: outcomes and priorities 2018-2021 on 26 March 2018.

    Staff education, training and development remain at the heart of the Scottish Strategy for Autism, according to the government.

  5. Exclusions in report 'completely at odds with the guidance that is in place'

    Education Secretary John Swinney
    Image caption: Education Secretary John Swinney

    Education Secretary John Swinney begins by thanking Children in Scotland, the National Autistic Society Scotland, and Scottish Autism for their report 'Not included, not engaged, not involved'.

    The minister explains he has met with all three organisations since the report has been published.

    He accepts some of the challenges raised in the report are about resources, but also stresses they are about atttidudes and ethos.

    The education secretary explains the presumption of mainstreaing received the backing of the parliament.

    He says when he reads about the exclusions in the report, it is completely at odds with the guidance that is in place.

  6. Background: School staff member told 'watch Big Bang Theory' as Asperger's training

    The Big Bang Theory is a popular American sitcom focusing on a group of highly intelligent but socially inept "nerds"
    Image caption: The Big Bang Theory is a popular American sitcom focusing on a group of highly intelligent but socially inept "nerds"

    Last year the education committee heard that a member of staff at a Scottish school was told to "watch The Big Bang Theory" as training to deal with a pupil with Asperger syndrome, MSPs have been told.

    Holyrood's education committee took evidence on support for pupils with additional needs.

    Sylvia Haughney, a support for learning instructor, said there was not enough teacher training.

    She said a support worker had been advised to watch American sitcom The Big Bang Theory as a form of training.

    Colin Crawford, head of inclusion in the council's education services department, accepted there may need to be a review of what training teachers need, but said this should apply when they are at college as much as when working in schools.

    Read more here.

    Sylvia Haughney said the training she received when going into teaching is "just gone" today
    Image caption: Sylvia Haughney said the training she received when going into teaching is "just gone" today
  7. Independent MSP says we must get it right for every child

    Independent MSP Mark MacDonald
    Image caption: Independent MSP Mark MacDonald

    Independent MSP Mark MacDonald commends the work of Children in Scotland, the National Autistic Society Scotland, and Scottish Autism on pulling together 'Not included, not engaged, not involved'.

    Mr MacDonald tells the chamber: "I have spoken in this chamber on many occasions regarding autism, often viewed through the experience of my son."

    He says he has been fortunate that his son has been placed in appropriate education, but that does not help the parents who responded to this survey.

    They want a system that works for their children too, Mr MacDonald explains and insists we must get it right for every child (GIRFEC).

  8. Number of specialist additional needs teachers dropped by more than 400 in eight years

    Green MSP Ross Greer
    Image caption: Green MSP Ross Greer

    Green MSP Ross Greer says 'Not included, not engaed, not involved' is a report that should surprise none of the MSPs in the chamber

    Mr Greer says the report says over a third of the parents who responded said their child had been illegally excluded from school in the last two years.

    The Green MSP says it adds to the substantial body of evidence of the failure to support children with additional needs in Scotland.

    He says the number of specialist additional needs teachers has dropped by more than 400 in eight years and he cites cuts to support staff.

  9. Background: 'My autistic son was unlawfully excluded from school'

    Debbie won an appeal against her autistic son's exclusion from school

    When 18-year-old Aidan was surprised by a teacher at school last December, he lashed out.

    An autistic teenager, his mother said he was understandably startled when the woman put her head through a gap in a screen.

    He didn't have a meltdown, he was not angry, but his reaction led to his exclusion from the additional support needs school where he was a pupil.

    He was excluded for three days last December, but when his family tried to take him back, they were told there was no longer a place for him.

    Read more here.

  10. No. of specialist additional support needs teachers declined by 16% in last five years

    Tory MSP Annie Wells
    Image caption: Tory MSP Annie Wells

    Tory MSP Annie Wells. says many children with autism are regularly missing school and as a result are suffering low self-esteem.

    Ms Wells says the number of specialist additional support needs teachers has declined by 16% in the last five years.

  11. Background: Mother confronts minister over autistic daughter's schooling

    Marie Gillam confronted John Swinney

    The mother of an autistic girl recently confronted Scotland's education secretary about how her daughter was treated in school.

    Marie Gillam said her daughter Jessica had been left dirty after she was not given assistance using the toilet.

    During a BBC Radio Scotland phone-in, she told John Swinney that children with additional support needs were "really being failed".

    Mr Swinney said the circumstances as described were "totally unacceptable".

    Read more here.

  12. Excluding children with autism informally 'against the law and should not be happening'

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson
    Image caption: Labour MSP Daniel Johnson

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says all too often children with autism are told off and exculded.

    Mr Johnson stresses the importance of building an understanding of what autism is like.

    He stresses "shock and anger" at hearing about parents having to lawyer up to protect their children's education, seven year old pupils being told off and some children being put in "soft rooms" with no window.

    The Labour MSP tells the chamber off children with autism who are being excluded informally.

    "That is against the law and should not be happening."

    He says we must support our teachers and he points out specialist teacher numbers have been cut by 20% since 2010.

    Mainstreaming should not mean exclusion from school, Mr Johnson concludes.

  13. Here is the motion...

    Motion
    Image caption: Here is the motion
  14. MSPs will now debate the experiences of autistic children at school

    School pupils with one missing

    Labour MSP Daniel Johnson will lead a member's debate on a report called 'Not included, not engaged, not involved', focusing on the experience of autistic children at school.

    The study has been co-authored by Children in Scotland, the National Autistic Society Scotland, and Scottish Autism.

  15. Decision time....

    The motion from the debate on hypothyroidism is unanimously backed.

    MSPs also unanimously back the amendments and amended motion from the consensual veterans debate.

    The LCM for the UK Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill is also backed, but somewhat less consensually, with 100 MSPs backing it and seven MSPs voting against.