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happy, safe and achieving their potential: a standard of support for children and young people in Scottish schools


happy, safe and achieving their potential
a standard of support for children and young people in Scottish schools
the report of The National Review of Guidance 2004

Annex A
10 Standards for Personal Support in Schools - Outcomes and Practice Issues

What the Standard means

Outcomes for children and young people

Some practice issues

Learning for Life

1. Schools make opportunities for developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes children and young people need to enable them to seek information and support throughout life

High quality programmes of education for personal and social development and health education should equip children and young people to be pro-active in seeking information and help to support their life choices. Children and young people will have knowledge of local sources of information and help, in and out of school.

  • Children and young people in all forms of full- or part-time education receive progressive core education for personal and social development and health education
  • Children and young people have access to up-to-date and relevant resources in education for personal and social development, and are involved in participative learning opportunities
  • The development of education for PSD and health education at authority level should ensure that children and young people in all forms of full-time or part-time education provision experience core features of education for PSD and health education. It is essential that there is effective liaison between service providers to achieve this and that schools remain in contact with children and young people receiving education in other services.
  • Many schools engage external agencies to deliver aspects of education for PSD on sensitive issues such as sexuality or sexual health. Often, children and young people welcome this approach. Authorities should consider means of developing a strategic approach to the involvement of partner agencies to ensure all children and young people in their schools receive quality learning and information opportunities, rather than relying on ad hoc local arrangements. It is not appropriate for schools to bring in external agencies without planning for follow up support, information or progression.

2. Schools provide access to information to help children and young people make informed decisions and choices

Children and young people should make personal choices based on relevant and up to date information that communicates effectively and is appropriate to the age of the child. Schools should offer access to information in ways that allow discreet access to it.

  • Pupils and parents readily seek support in school and from other agencies
  • Pupils benefit from full collaboration between the school and other agencies such as NHS Health Scotland and NHS to gain accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on healthy lifestyle choices, including alcohol, smoking, sexual health and drugs
  • Outreach information and contact within school by community-based agencies should be encouraged and form part of local Community Learning Planning.
  • School-based staff should be familiar with out-of-school support provision in their area _ children and young people can help validate the quality of the provision.
  • A range of information should be accessible covering personal choices relevant to the age of the children and young people: relationships, sexuality, sexual health, pregnancy, drugs, crime and other issues are important. Many of these are covered in internet sites (e.g. Young Scot), although internet/child protection policies may bar young people's access to important subjects. The recommendations of the National Strategy for Sexual Health and Relationships should be fully considered by schools.

3. Schools make opportunities for children's citizenship and participation, through involvement in their school community, their neighbourhoods and in democratic society

Challenging and enjoyable learning takes place through a wide range of in-school and out-of-school activities that engage children and young people in exploring individual interests and contributing to their community.

  • Pupils are active in peer support and other forms of pupil participation
  • Children's and young people's achievements and efforts in citizenship activities are recognised, and where appropriate, accredited
  • The principles which contribute to citizenship form one of the underpinning elements of the purposes of education as defined in A Curriculum for Excellence. This is an important part of children's and young people's experience and contributes to the development of a positive ethos, and through which individuals' achievements should be recognised and where appropriate, rewarded or accredited. This area again requires ongoing commitment to co-ordination, development and management of relationships with partner agencies, and the leadership to integrate the approach into the whole school.

Review of individual progress

4. Schools provide regular review of progress in learning and personal and social development

Children and young people should be involved in regularly reviewing their personal goals with a member of staff that knows the child well, and can discuss the child's or young person's progress with parents on a regular basis.

  • Children and young people participate in planning and reviewing their progress with staff
  • Pupils experience continuity of staff as far as possible and plan and review progress with a member of staff that knows them
  • An important aspect of Personal Learning Planning is the children's and young people's involvement in setting learning goals, both in the formal and informal aspects of the curriculum. Staff should know the child well, and preferably have some continuity throughout their time at school when in secondary school.
  • In primary school, teachers may meet with children during class time by making best use of auxiliary support staff, for example, and meet with parents during parents evenings unless additional meetings are requested.
  • Schools should consider increasing this contact commitment during key transition years: P7 & S1; S2 (Subject choices) & S4/S5.

5. Schools help with transitions between stages in education and between different providers of education and personal development opportunities

Close liaison between schools and other service providers at transition points helps children and young people to feel personally prepared and helps children, young people and parents understand the support arrangements between providers.

  • Pupils and parents are confident they understand new settings or stages and aware of support and contact arrangements
  • Pupils' personal reviews of progress and other personal profiles and plans follow them into their new setting
  • Children and young people are familiarised with new settings and key staff prior to transition
  • Key transitions include nursery-primary; primary-secondary; at all stages between school and alternative provision; secondary-further education; secondary-post school.
  • Good practice has been developed in collaborative teaching between schools at different levels prior to transition (e.g. teacher exchanges primary-secondary or nursery-primary).

6. Schools help to plan for the future

Young people's future beyond school education is something the school and the young person proactively consider and plan for involving career related learning opportunities and career planning support services.

  • Pupils acquire the skills and knowledge to be effective career planners
  • Children and young people are proactive in developing ideas about their future
  • Young people feel ready for work and confident in their personal ability to cope with the world of work and change
  • The development of the work experience programme requires considerable organisation and the development of positive relationships with local employers.
  • Enterprise education should engage the business community in order to meet the needs of local employers for school leavers with necessary skills and employability.
  • There should be an integrated approach to enterprise education, career education and the development of young people's career planning skills.
  • Strategic partnership and collaboration with Careers Scotland is essential.

Access to Support

7. Schools provide access to staff by children and parents who want support

Schools actively communicate to pupils and parents the role of all school staff in supporting them, and the roles of specialist staff and other agencies in providing specific support. Children, young people and parents should know who designated staff are and how to contact them.

  • Children, young people and parents feel confident that school staff will support them and understand the roles and remits of designated staff and partner agencies
  • This commitment may be particularly important for children, young people and parents to understand if they view previous encounters with the school negatively.
  • A structure should be in place by which any member of staff who has been approached by a pupil or parent can gain the support of senior Personal Support staff for advice and support.
  • Schools should ensure that a key member of staff is responsible for ensuring that any support provided by any member of staff is recorded, monitored and followed through.

8. Schools co-ordinate support between agencies and schools, wherever learning takes place

Schools will make clear statements of support arrangements for children and parents where other services contribute to the child's or young person's learning programme outside school.

  • Pupils and parents understand and are actively involved in plans for additional support or involvement of other agencies
  • A statement of how information will be shared will assist partners to be clear about their roles and respective responsibilities
  • Educational Plans reflecting the needs of the child or young person will be developed (Personal Learning Plans, Individual Education Plans and Co-ordinated Support Plans) which must ensure that programmes of support and learning provide appropriate challenges for children's and young people's learning and personal and social development.
  • Increasing numbers of children and young people will undertake learning and other opportunities with a range of providers, on and off school site. Consequent fragmentation of support and access to information for children and young people should be avoided.
  • It is a concern that young people with difficulties in mainstream education may miss out on aspects of the commitment to providing them with support and information on other sources of support available to them. Inclusive practice requires that information should be made to all children and young people, not just those attending a mainstream school full-time.

9. Staff respect confidentiality

School staff, children, young people and parents are clear that the majority of concerns can be discussed in confidence with any member of staff, and the school will involve children and young people in giving informed consent to share information with other services where this will help them. The school is also clear what staff will do where there are concerns about risk of harm, while communicating a commitment to support and involve the child or young person when information must be shared.

  • Pupils and parents readily seek support in school and from other agencies
  • Information will be shared about a child where this is necessary to protect them
  • Children can understand what concerns they can discuss in confidence and what information must be passed on with regard to their (or others') safety.
  • Their choice of adult is respected and continuity of support sought if other staff or specialists become involved.
  • The process of sharing information between agencies to achieve the best support for children and young people is carried out with their involvement and understanding, as far as possible.
  • A portfolio of information detailing a child's or young person's preferences for personal care, communication and other needs is important where a child or young person has complex needs. Continuity of staff helps children to feel secure and confident in school, but where this is not possible effective transfer of information is essential for staff, children and young people.

10. Schools ensure time and space to seek help

The school involves children and young people in deciding the most appropriate opportunities and locations to access information and staff who will support them. Schools provide space in the school week to allow children and young people to build relationships with staff, reflect on their personal, social and emotional wellbeing and develop their knowledge of information and support available to them.

  • Children's and young people's needs are identified by staff quickly and responses are planned and implemented smoothly
  • Children and young people can be involved in deciding how locations and opportunities can be developed as space for 'Personal Support and access to information'.
  • Many schools have responded positively to the recommendation to create flexible support space in school refurbishment and plans for new building.
  • Practices such as circle time help create the dedicated time for children and young people to develop their confidence and build relationships. Practices such as Bubble Time may provide the one-to-one opportunities for more personal discussion between children, young people and staff.