First Minister condemns removal of ASN children from Aboyne Primary School photo

Aboyne Primary School. Image: Aberdeenshire Council

Omitting children who have “complex” needs from some school photographs was “shameful”, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said.

A photography firm and the local council have apologised to parents after school pictures omitted children with additional support needs (ASN) at Aboyne Primary School in Aberdeenshire.

Parents expressed their fury after it emerged a photographer working for Tempest Photography took additional images of a P5 class without ASN children.

One of the children removed from the photographs was a wheelchair user, whose twin sister was distraught to learn she had been left out of an image that was offered to parents to purchase.

The First Minister was asked about the reports as he visited a soft play centre in Cumbernauld. He said it was “shameful, really dreadful”.

He told the PA news agency: “It should never have happened at all.

“I don’t want to see another single example of that anywhere in Scotland. It’s not acceptable, not right.

“And I’m pleased the council responsible has apologised.”

The Cornwall-based photography firm, which employs local photographers to take school photos across the UK, has said it “deeply regrets” the hurt caused.

Initially the firm said it had launched an investigation, but has now said it “is not standard procedure” and the company is taking the matter “very seriously”.

Aberdeenshire Council also apologised to parents and said the decision was not taken by the school.

The link to purchase the photos was also immediately removed.

Aberdeenshire Council said: “We are aware that following Aboyne Primary School’s recent school class photographs, links to purchase the pictures included images with and without complex needs provision pupils.

“Whilst this was not a decision taken by the school, we absolutely appreciate the distress and hurt this has caused some parents and carers and we are sincerely sorry.

“The issue has been taken up with the photography company directly as this is totally unacceptable.”

The council added: “Aboyne is an inclusive school and every single child should be included, engaged and involved in their learning and school experiences.”

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