Scotland politics

Boys 'need more learning support', ScotCen study shows

child struggling with work Image copyright PA

Boys are twice as likely as girls to need additional support for learning, according to a study of eight-year-old children in Scotland.

The research showed nearly one in five (18%) boys were in need of extra learning support, compared with fewer than one in 10 (8%) girls.

One in eight (13%) Scottish eight-year-olds were reported by their parents as having an additional support need.

The survey was carried out in 2012 by social research body ScotCen.

Its study, Growing Up In Scotland, tracks the lives of thousands of children and their parents from birth.

The data has been released to coincide with Learning Disability Awareness Week.

Other findings showed children from families with the lowest incomes were more likely to have an additional support need than those from families with the highest incomes - 17% compared with 9%.

And youngsters living in the most deprived areas were more likely to have an additional support need - 15% compared with 11% living in the least deprived areas.

'Significant impact'

Local authorities and other agencies are legally required to provide additional support where needed to help any child or young person benefit from education.

Some of the reasons cited in the study for children requiring learning support included speech problems, dyslexia and autism.

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."

The survey's results come from interviews with the parents of 3,685 children and are taken from data collected in 2012 when they were aged eight, and in either primary three or primary four.

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