Charities say funding for children with additional support needs (ASN) must increase, as figures show spending per pupil has fallen by a third in a decade.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC), which represents groups providing specialist care and education, says there must be greater provision of ASN teachers.
It pointed to figures from the Government which show real-terms average spend per pupil was £5,381 per pupil in 2012/12, but £3,511 in 2021/22.
During this period there has been a dramatic increase in pupils identified as having ASN, going from around 10% of all pupils in 2010 to around a third last year.
The charities also said there is a wide variation in spending among different council areas.
A spokesman for the SCSC said: “We are in a mental health emergency and have also witnessed dramatic increases in classroom disruption, impacting on pupils and teachers alike.
“This is in part due to increased levels of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties post-lockdown.
“Given this, it is disappointing to note cuts in spending supporting those with ASN and we would urge the Scottish Government to adequately resource the provision of the likes of specialist teachers, educational psychologists and classroom assistants.
“Councils and the Scottish Government must work together to provide an adequately resourced and equitable system of support across Scotland for those children and young people with ASN, representing some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “All children and young people should receive the support that they need to reach their full potential.
“The number of pupils identified with additional support for learning needs has increased markedly since 2010 and there continues to be year-on-year increases.
“This is partly driven by a change to how ASN statistics were gathered in 2010.
“Spending on additional support for learning by authorities has reached a record high of £830 million in 2021/22 (5.9% increase in cash terms, 6.6% in real-terms from 2020/21).
“We have also invested an additional £45 million since 2019-20 (£15 million per year) and provide over £11 million of funding to directly support pupils with complex additional support needs and services to children and families.”
The Government said it is for educational authorities to decide the most appropriate type of provision.
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