PMSFUK - Phelan McDermid Syndrome Foundation UK

Special Education Needs – Scotland

The terms additional support for learning and additional support needs are used in Scotland. The emphasis is very much on the individual child and their assessed needs.
The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 sets out how pupils should be supported to reach their full potential and gives parents certain rights. Under this law, any child who needs more or different support to what is normally provided in schools or pre-schools is said to have additional support needs.
There are 32 local authorities in Scotland whose education departments have legal duties under this law, each one has their own policies and procedures for doing this, but all must conform to the Additional Support for Learning framework. Each authority publishes details of their policies and these are available to parents.
Education authorities have to provide children with additional support needs with ‘adequate and efficient’ additional support so they are able to benefit fully from their education. Children’s additional support needs must be kept under review by education authorities and they must monitor the effectiveness of the support the children are receiving.
Education authorities will use planning documents to arrange the support children will receive, including Individualised Educational Programmes (IEP) and Additional Support Plans. These plans are non-statutory.
The only statutory or legal planning document in education is the Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP). A CSP is prepared for children or young people who:

  • need support due to complex or multiple factors that adversely and significantly affect their school education
  • have needs that are likely to last for more than a year, and
  • need significant additional support from the education authority and another department of the local authority (such as social work services), or another agency (such as healthboards, career services, colleges or universities), or both, to reach their educational objectives.

The Scottish Government’s Getting it right for every child approach aims to integrate and co- ordinate plans developed by different agencies such as education, health or social work. The aim is to produce a single plan called a ‘child’s plan’ that will set out everything that needs to happen to ensure the child’s well-being. The CSP should be included in this plan but will also be a stand-alone document.

What is a co-ordinated support plan? A CSP:

  • is an action plan for some children and young people who need significant additional support with their education
  • is monitored and reviewed regularly
  • supports professionals to work together to help children and young people achieve educational targets
  • ensures this support is properly co-ordinated
  • is for everyone involved: the child or young person, the parent, teachers, therapists, educational psychologists, social workers and so on.

(Extract from Enquire factsheet 13)

What about disabled children who are not yet in education?

Children under three who may have additional support needs arising from a disability can be referred for assessment to the education authority by a health professional. Any other organisation or person, including parents, can also bring a child to the attention of the education authority. If the child does require extra support the education authority must provide it, with parental agreement.
This support could be a home visiting teacher or perhaps a health professional such as a speech therapist. The education authority once aware of the child’s needs must start to plan the help they will need once they start pre-school at least six months in advance of their start date.
For further information or advice about the Scottish system contact Enquire. It is funded by the Scottish government and is there to provide independent advice and information about additional support for learning to parents, families and professionals. Visit their website.

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