Last Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2021


What is this?

PSS logo Welcome to the Skilled level of the Pupil Support Staff Professional Learning Framework which has been developed to help staff working with children and young people who require targeted additional support.

The Pupil Support Staff Professional Learning framework has been developed to upskill staff working with children and young people who require additional support with an understanding of the Scottish rights and relationship based inclusive approaches.

Who is this for?

Pupil Support Staff, Middle and Senior leaders.

Pupil support staff are essential and valuable members of early learning and child care settings (ELC) and school communities. This new national professional learning framework has been developed to:

  • Help pupil support staff access and engage in their own professional development, set within our Scottish education context
  • Support Local Authorities and Regional Improvement Collaboratives by complementing their professional learning opportunities.

Aligning with national policy, legislation and demand, this professional learning framework has been developed collaboratively and co-created with pupil support staff across Scotland. It aims to support staff to make an even greater contribution to the learning, wellbeing and future opportunities of children and young people. This Professional Learning Framework will continue to evolve and will be complemented further tools that we intend to consult on later in 2021/22.

Pupil support staff make close and meaningful relationships with children and young people. They are often best placed to hear children and young people’s views and experiences on the individual challenges they face and the support they need. Their contribution to discussions with teachers and school leaders about needs, strategies and planning for all children and young people is therefore essential. Educational establishments must ensure there is a forum and good opportunities for pupil support staff to contribute to professional discussion and access appropriate professional learning opportunities.

The Pupil Support Staff Professional Learning Framework has been designed with 3 levels and reflects the NHS Education for Scotland (NES) professional learning frameworks. This new framework includes activities and resources in a variety of accessible formats, and it will continue to be further developed.

  1. Informed - Universal support (Key induction activities are indicated by ⚹)
  2. Skilled - Additional targeted support
  3. Enhanced - Intensive specialised - context specific

Local authorities, regional improvement collaboratives and Unions can access this national offer and compliment it with their bespoke localised professional learning opportunities.

Pupil Support Staff Skills, Knowledge and Values

Main skill


Scottish Educational context and knowledge

Scottish education context

UNCRC and Rights and Participation


Responsibility of All

Educational Planning

Communication and Collaboration: Developing positive relationships

The skills to build positive, trusting relationships with children and young people (mentoring and interpersonal skills)

The ability to build positive relationships with parents and carers (language skills)

The ability to build positive collaborative relationships with other establishments, education and support staff

Child wellbeing and development

The ability to identify and respond to the emotional, wellbeing and development needs of children and young people

The ability to support positive relationships and behaviour, including reducing distressed behaviour

The skills, knowledge and ability to support children and young people

The ability to support language and communication development in children and young people

Safeguarding and Child protection

Demonstrating a commitment to motivating, and including all learners, understanding the influence of gender, social, cultural, racial, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds on experiences of learning, taking account of additional support needs and seeking to reduce barriers to learning

Personal and professional development

The ability to drive your professional development, with the support of your school, employer and national agencies

Being a Pupil Support practitioner in Scotland.

The ability and effectively use IT to support children and young people and for self-guided learning

Wellbeing, organisation and creativity

The ability to adapt and develop creative solutions in the classroom or other learning / support setting

The ability to positively manage your personal wellbeing with the support of your employer and establishment team

The ability to plan, with your line manager, for maximum, positive impact of pupil contact time

Select a level to access the range of activities.

Improvement questions

  • How do you know that the professional learning programme for pupil support staff in your establishment/local authority is effective in meeting the needs of pupil support staff who are not teachers?
  • Does your professional learning offer align with the staged level of intervention?