The purpose of assessment is to help everyone develop an understanding of a child’s additional support needs.

It is important to understand any difficulties a child may be having so that changes can be made to help their learning and development. Assessment tells us what we need to do to help maximise learning and development.

Children may need support to develop their literacy or numeracy skills or their social and emotional skills.

Specific learning difficulties


Assessment of a child’s literacy difficulties may include exploring the possibility of your child having dyslexia. Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual's cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas.

The impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning and teaching environment, as there are often associated difficulties such as:

  • auditory and/or visual processing of language-based information
  • phonological awareness
  • oral language skills and reading fluency
  • short-term and working memory
  • sequencing and directionality
  • number skills
  • organisational ability
  • motor skills and co-ordination may also be affected


Assessment of a child’s numeracy difficulties may include exploring the possibility of your child having dyscalculia.

Many people may experience difficulty with maths. However, when these difficulties persist despite effective learning and teaching and supportive interventions, there may a specific learning difficulty. As yet there is no universally agreed terminology to indicate dyscalculia.

However, East Ayrshire has developed Standard Circular 102a with the following definition:

Dyscalculia may affect a pupil’s ability to:

  • acquire arithmetical skills
  • understand simple number concepts
  • gain an intuitive grasp of numbers
  • learn number facts and procedures

Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence. (Adapted from Department for Education and Skills, 2001)

Dyscalculia is associated with a difficulty in two fundamental numerical concepts:

  • Subitising (the ability to identify how many objects there are without counting them)
  • Number sense (the ability to determine whether one group has more objects, or is bigger than the other)

Assessment process

Assessment is part of a cyclical process of gathering information, planning, supporting and reviewing.

East Ayrshire staff follow guidance detailed in Standard Circular 102 (East Ayrshire Assessment Process). These processes mirror the national picture of best practice as detailed in Building the Curriculum 5 and the ASL Act Code of Practice (2009).

East Ayrshire Assessment Process:

  1. Concerns raised
  2. Decide appropriate assessments
  3. Assess
  4. Analyse assessments
  5. Devise intervention plan based assessment
  6. Adapt curriculum, environment and/or staff practice
  7. Assess ongoing progress
  8. Review 

Who is involved

The assessment process has the child/young person and their family at the centre. 

The information gathering process may also involve: 

  • class teacher/classroom assistant
  • additional support needs (ASN) coordinator
  • senior leadership team
  • EAST staff - East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST) is a central support team within Education (Economy & Skills) tasked with supporting educational establishments to meet the spectrum of needs for children and young people with additional support needs
  • educational psychologist
  • health professionals, for example speech and language therapist, occupational therapist
  • social work personnel

Who is involved depends upon the specific needs of your child.

What assessment involves

Assessment is not based on a one off activity or test - it is a process which involves working with others to gather a range of information from a number of people and places, over a period of time.

Assessment information could be gathered through:

  • discussions with parents and carers, children and young people, school staff and other professionals
  • staff reports or observations
  • samples of work
  • routine assessments gathered by establishments
  • checklists or questionnaires
  • assessments from other agencies, for example, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists
  • determine whether one group has more objects, or is bigger than the other 

Keeping you informed

You can expect the education establishment to keep you informed about the assessment process, supports in place and your child’s progress. Your views are an important part of the assessment process and will be sought by the professionals involved.

There may be meetings that you are invited to come along to about the assessment and your child’s progress and you will always be kept informed. If you are invited to a meeting, you can expect a record of the meeting to be shared with you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your education establishment if you have any questions. 

Contact Information

East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST)
Crosshouse Campus
Playingfield Road
01563 554974