EVERY student teacher in Scotland will be issued with new guidance on how to support pupils with learning difficulties.

The guide, developed with Edinburgh charity the Salvesen Mindroom Centre, explains key conditions associated with learning difficulties such as autism or dyslexia.

It also offers teachers practical tips on the different ways they can support pupils in the classroom.

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The guide has been issued by professional watchdog the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) following concerns over the quality of information trainee teachers are given on supporting pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN).

In May an enquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s education committee heard from a number of student teachers who highlighted problems with ASN training.

One trainee told the committee they had received “next to nothing” on classroom behaviour management and “absolutely nothing on ASN”.

A separate enquiry by the same committee found pupils with ASN were not getting the level of support they were entitled to in many areas of Scotland.

A spokesman for the GTCS said: “We listened to the feedback from the education committee and have linked up with the Salvesen Mindroom Centre to provide all 4,000 student teachers with a copy of this guide.

“It offers helpful advice on understanding learning difficulties and is a practical resource for all teachers, not just students.”

Ross Greer, education spokesman for the Scottish Greens, who has campaigned on the issue, welcomed the resource, but called for further action.

He said: “I am glad to see how quickly the GTCS has responded to the evidence the committee gathered, but we need to go much further to address the problems with ASN in our schools.

“The Greens have consistently raised concerns about provision, including the need for more consistent teacher education and the reversal of cuts which have seen over five hundred specialist teachers and hundreds of support staff go.

“This guide will address the issue of inconsistent teacher training in the short term, but we need to ensure all staff enter schools having been trained to a similarly high standard and not just teachers.”

Sophie Pilgrim from campaigning alliance, the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, described the guide as “practical and easy-to-read” - but also called for more fundamental changes.

She said: “This will help to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings around these conditions which affect so many of our children.

“However, we know that since 2012 the number of pupils with ASN has increased against a backdrop over the same period of a 16 per cent fall in the number of specialist ASN teachers.

“This lack of resources has seen many children and young people ending up poorly supported and even excluded from school altogether, which has a profound effect on the teachers as well as the rest of the class.”

The coalition went on to call for better training for mainstream teachers, pupil-support staff, social workers and health professionals as well as increased investment in specialist provision.

Figures published in February show a quarter of pupils in Scotland now require extra support.

There are now 170,000 pupils in primary, secondary and special schools who were identified with ASN, up 45 per cent since 2012.

ASN covers a wide range of issues including learning difficulties, autism, dyslexia, visual and hearing impairment, language problems and mental health issues.

It also includes bereavement, substance misuse and pupils who have English as a second language or who are carers.

The number of children diagnosed with autism rose 13,423 - an increase of 55 per cent in four years.

Advice for teachers included in the It Takes All Kinds of Minds guide includes breaking classroom assignments into manageable sections, giving pupils with learning difficulties regular breaks and making sure enough time is given for assignments and tests.