Last Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2022


What is this?

This page provides the 2022 Scottish Working Definition for Dyscalculia and accompanying information and resources.

This page will continue to be updated with new resources and professional learning opportunities to support staff to develop their understanding of dyscalculia.

Who is this for?

This is for all staff working with children and young people.

Dyscalculia definition logoScotland’s education system is an inclusive one and is designed to make sure that every child and young person is entitled to support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities which Curriculum for Excellence provides.

The 2022 Scottish Working Definition of Dyscalculia has been collaboratively developed to provide education staff, partners, families and learners with a nationally agreed description of the range of indicators and associated difficulties of dyscalculia.

At all stages, dyscalculia is on a continuum varying from mild to severe, with a range of strengths and difficulties which are affected by the nature of the activity undertaken, the learning environment and any coping strategies and support in place. As a result, every individual with dyscalculia will differ in how they are affected and in the level of severity experienced.

There are however a common set of indicators that can be observed which are included within the working definition.

Identification and support

Receiving appropriate additional support is not dependent upon the formal identification of a specific need or label such as dyscalculia. However, this should not mean that schools and local authorities are not supportive of formally identifying additional support needs such as dyscalculia.

The identification of dyscalculia and the understanding of what it means can be extremely important to the learner’s wellbeing and their family and this should not be underestimated.

The information gathered during the collaborative identification process is valued and forms part of the ongoing monitoring of the child or young person’s progress and support within Curriculum for Excellence.

Dyscalculia pictorial definition

The definition has been collaboratively developed by a short life working group with representation from:

  • The Scottish Government
  • Education Scotland
  • Association of Scottish Principal Education Psychologists (ASPEP)
  • Additional Support for Learning Officers (ASLO)
  • Dyslexia Scotland
  • Local authority specialist teachers and officers

Consultation with children and young people and a national parent forum also supported the development.

Improvement questions

  • How does my understanding of dyscalculia impact on my practice and how do I know?
  • How well am I supporting learners with dyscalculia?
  • How aware is our school community of dyscalculia and how do we know?


Word file: Observation and Planning Tool (72 KB)

PDF file: Scottish Working Definition of Dyscalculia (362 KB)