Additional Support for Learning & Early Intervention

Ms Rhona Kennedy and Ms Paula Gilhooly are dedicated, highly experienced and highly respected Additional Support for Learning (ASL) teachers who work with groups of pupils from P1-P7.

Children are baseline assessed in both literacy and numeracy when entering Sciennes and children who need extra support in acquisition in either of these subjects are given more support by being put on a very structured Individual Educational Programme in a small group. Early Intervention is provided in P1 and P2.

Children who continue to experience learning difficulties in P3-P7 are offered extra help, where necessary, by our Additional Support for Learning teachers. Support can be given in the ASL Base or in the classroom, and children will be taken in small groups, and on occasions, individually. Children may require support in their learning for a variety of reasons, such as difficulties with reading, language or number, a return from a lengthy period of absence, or a change in home or school circumstances. The provision may be on a short or long term basis according to the child’s needs. Parents are kept informed about the provision and encouraged to become involved in their child’s learning.

Pupils with Additional Needs

The Authority has a policy of integration. This promotes the placement into primary and secondary schools of pupils with significant additional needs. Additional support may be given to the school to enable such a placement to operate successfully. Integrated placements are made following assessment by the Education Department’s Specialist Advisers and in consultation with parents. The school also has Special Needs Auxiliaries who help with the integration of children with specific needs and who liaise with class teachers, the Additional Support for Learning teacher, senior members of staff and parents.

Additional Support Needs :

An additional support need comes from anything which is a barrier to learning.  Most or all schools will have some children with additional support needs of some kind.  The education authority has many legal duties towards pupils with additional support needs.  Information about this is contained in a booklet called In On The Act : Information For The General Public which is published on the education authority website at – or contact the additional support for learning team on telephone number 469 3444.

Additional information on ASL within City of Edinburgh Council can be accessed here:

which includes information and documents about City of Edinburgh Psychological Services.

Able Pupils

Sciennes Primary School is a member of the Scottish Network for Able Pupils (SNAP). We are committed to the creation of an ethos of achievement. More able pupils are encouraged to remain with children of their own age to encourage social development but are provided with differentiated material to develop independent learning. Pupils in this category are given the opportunity to work with children of similar ability in other classes so that experiences can be shared. Additional Support for Learning staff are involved with co-ordinating these groups. Mrs Carol Brechin extracts able pupils to work with her in a ‘Thinking Skills’ group.

English as an Additional Language

The EAL (English as an Additional Language) team provide a visiting service which aims to offer support for bilingual pupils and their teachers in school. (Bilingual is defined as someone who uses two or more languages in their daily life.)

Miss Aisling Groarke is Sciennes’ EAL teacher who works with staff and parents to support pupils who have English as an additional language.

Additional information can be accessed on the City of Edinburgh Council EAL website.

The aims at Sciennes School are: To provide English language support across the curriculum for bilingual pupils.

To support teachers and others whose work involves bilingual pupils.

To promote the welfare of bilingual pupils within the school.

To work in partnership with the school to communicate effectively at home.

The EAL teacher has a flexible remit in order to respond to the changing demands of pupils arriving, leaving or ceasing to require additional help. The teacher may at any one time be working with: beginners those with limited English those who speak English fluently but may not be achieving their full academic potential. The EAL teacher will work in partnership with the class and subject teachers, and regular liaison will take place in order to plan and evaluate the most effective support. The EAL teacher will work mainly in the class but it may be appropriate to extract pupils for certain lessons. The EAL teacher may also advise on assessment, resources and teaching strategies; linguistic and cultural matters; contacts with local community services and interpreting services.

VTSSVisiting Teacher Support Service

The Visiting Teaching & Support Service (VTSS) is the service for children with disability and their families.

VTSS work with children and young people from birth and throughout their school years who have or are awaiting a diagnosis of a disability.

This would include pre-school children whose needs arise from:

  • Communication difficulties
  • Learning disabilities
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Physical difficulties

And learners of any age who may have:

  • Sensory disability (hearing impaired/visually impaired)
  • Speech and language impairment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Challenging behaviour arising from their disability

VTSS work with families, early years settings and schools to develop programmes to progress the children’s learning and offer advice and support regarding aspects of disability.

We require the parent’s informed consent for a referral. VTSS has an open referral system and forms can be obtained by calling 0131 469 2850.

GIRFECGetting it Right for Every Child 

GIRFEC is the national framework to help co-ordinate children’s services across Scotland. City of Edinburgh Council has followed this by adopting the Getting it right for every child approach to give the right help to children, young people and families in Edinburgh when they need it from a joined up multi-agency team.

LOCAL and NATIONAL ORGANISATIONS offering advice for Additional Support Needs:

Kindred – Supporting Families with Additional Support Needs

Lothian Autistic Society 

Scottish Autism Charity and Services

Mindroom – Scottish independent charity

 Autism Initiatives charity providing services to children and adults with autism.


Seasons for Growth – Ms Rhona Kennedy runs a peer group education programme targeted at P5 pupils who have faced change, loss and grief associated with death, family breakdown, or any other form of separation.



Ms Rhona Kennedy runs a programme with some of our pupils to develop their perceptual motor control and skills.



Click here to access a Guide for Parents from Enquire, the Scottish Advice Service for Additional Support for Learning

The link above leads to simple and easy-to-read guide which is an introduction to additional support for learning.

If you’re new to additional support to learning it explains – in simple language – your and your child’s rights, the roles and responsibilities of staff involved with your child, what to expect at meetings and much more.

It’s an easy document to read through but keep it handy and use it as your child grows. It has lots of information about the different stages of your child’s education including pre-school, primary and secondary school and post 16 choices.



‘In on the Act’ was produced by the City of Edinburgh Council to ensure effective implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning)(Scotland) Act 2004. It includes ‘Pathways to Support’ which give a structured approach to identifying, assessing and supporting pupils’ learning.