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

DescriptionThe report of the National Review of Guidance, provides a framework of principles to develop personal support in Scottish schools
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateFebruary 11, 2005


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

    This document is also available in pdf format (356k)

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    The full report 'Happy, Safe and Achieving their Potential - a standard of support for children and young people in Scottish schools' 2004 is available here.

    Further reading:
    Happy, Safe and Achieving their Potential - a standard of support for children and young people in Scottish schools, 2004
    Personal Support in Scottish Schools, HMIE, 2004
    Supporting Pupils: study of Guidance in Scottish Schools, SCRE Centre, 2004
    Support in School, the Views of Harder to Reach Groups, TASC Agency and CaskieCo, 2004
    Better Behaviour - Better Learning, 2001

    ministerial foreword

    photo of Peter Peacock This report of the Reference Group conducting the National Review of Guidance comes at an exciting time in Scottish Education. Our agenda set out in Ambitious Excellent Schools describes a far reaching programme of reform. Our agenda, and this report, builds on the huge strengths we have in our schools in Scotland. It demonstrates that schools are accomplished in responding to the needs of pupils and describes many examples of their approaches. It sets a broad framework within which teachers and headteachers will continue to use their skills and professionalism to ensure that all children in Scotland have the support they need to become effective learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to their schools and communities. It is a tremendous responsibility, and achievement, to enable children and young people to be safe, happy, and achieve their potential.

    Schools play a central role in the lives of most young people. But they do not do so in isolation from other influences on young people's lives. Schools work with other agencies, in health, social work, police and beyond, to give young people the support they need. That integration of services is vital if we are to meet the needs of young people. This review recognises the importance of working together with partners and building on the foundation of a positive school ethos, to create caring school communities in which children and young people are seamlessly supported.

    I am happy to accept this report, and to encourage all education authorities, schools and partners to meet the challenge of delivering for pupils and parents the Standard of Personal Support.

    Peter Peacock signature

    Peter Peacock
    Minister for Education and Young People

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    childhood and adolescence involves


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    The National Review of Guidance was completed in 2004, in response to the recommendation of the Discipline Task Group to review the nature and purpose of guidance in the context of integrating the different kinds of support in school through learning support, behaviour support and guidance.

    The Way Forward for Personal Support in Scottish Schools

    The implementation of the standard for personal support will take place in the context of Integrated Community Schools. The report of the National Review of Guidance suggests outcomes for children and young people, and for staff, which schools and authorities will evidence as they achieve the standard.

    Ambitious Excellent Schools (2004) describes Scotland's approach to ensure sustained improvement in Scotland's schools through a focus on outcomes and self evaluation, within a framework of proportionate inspection and international benchmarking. The Scottish Executive will continue to ensure support and challenge for local authorities through the development of effective reporting on performance in the National Priorities in Education.

    The National Review of Guidance provides 10 Standards of Personal Support. It is not prescriptive about the approach for organising support and it is expected that this will be developed to suit local needs and circumstances in authorities. It is therefore essential that there are opportunities for sharing good practice and exploring different models at national level, to support local development.

    A fundamental principle of the report of the National Review of Guidance is that teachers make a difference. The standard for personal support provides a framework for building positive relationships and enabling pupils and parents to access support; and describes what must be in place in schools to ensure that all children progress in their learning, personal and social development. The standard is based on a vision for caring school communities:

    • Children and Young People. Children and young people build positive relationships by spending time with teachers and school staff, and by trusting that they can have confidential access to a member of staff when they need it. They must then be able to rely on prompt and appropriate information and support to get the help they need, when they need it, effectively.
    • Parents and Carers. Schools and parents are partners working in children's and young people's best interests. Schools must reach out to create partnerships with all parents.
    • School Partnerships. Inclusive schools provide comprehensive, integrated approaches, harnessing multi-agency support to meet the care and welfare needs of children, young people and families. Effective schools ensure that staff are approachable and monitor action to meet children's and young people's needs.
    • Community Partnerships. Partners in the community provide complementary activities to enable children to develop their personalities, skills and talents as they grow up, through other learning, social and leisure opportunities.
    support for children and parents

    10 Standards of Personal Support in School

    In primary, secondary and special schools, and in partner agencies providing learning opportunities and support, children and parents can expect to find support to meet their personal, social and learning needs which reflects these standards:

    Learning for Life: To enhance learning for life, effective Personal Support:


    Makes 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.


    Provides 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.


    Makes 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.

    Review of Individual Progress: To enable review of individual progress, effective Personal Support:


    Provides 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.


    Helps 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.


    Helps 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.

    Access to Support: To ensure all children and young people, and their parents, feel confident that the school will support them, effective Personal Support:


    Provides 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.


    Respects 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.


    Ensures 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.


    Co-ordinates 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.

    (The 10 standards, associated outcomes and practice issues are described in detail in Annex A)

    positive relationships and a caring school community

    The National Review of Guidance recognised that in order to meet the educational, care and welfare needs of children, staff must be supported to embrace attitudes, skills, experience and practices which create a caring school community in which each member of staff understands their role and feels confident to fulfil it. The report describes the role of teachers, specialist staff, school leaders and authorities in developing personal support in schools and achieving the standard.

    The Role of Teachers

    Teachers require a range of skills and qualities that should be a focus in the training and support of new teachers and the continuing professional development of the whole school community. Teachers should:

    • build positive relationships with individual children and young people and understand the importance of this in their lives
    • encourage and support pupils to take responsibility for their own learning and progress and plan their own next steps in learning
    • be an open and accessible source of information and support, provided confidentially, and ensure children and young people know they are willing to listen
    • be able to identify needs and concerns regarding children's and young people's welfare and personal development, as well as their academic progress
    • understand the role of specialist staff in schools and other agencies and have the ability to support children and young people to seek or accept their help
    • be ready to involve speacialist staff in schools in supporting children and young people, support children and young people to approach specialist staff and refer to them appropriately
    • be able to communicate effectively with parents and other professionals, with and on behalf of the child or young person, sharing information on progress as well as problem solving
    • be accountable for the identification of children's and young people's needs, and subsequent responses and actions, in partnership with others in the school community and other services as required.

    The Role of Specialist Staff and Principal Teachers

    Specialist or designated staff, Principal Teachers (or designated senior staff and managers in primary and special schools) play an important developmental and co-ordinating role. They should:

    • ensure there is one key member of staff who will be responsible for ensuring a positive outcome has been achieved for the child or young person, when a need has been identified
    • be able to support, encourage and motivate teaching, non-teaching and ancillary staff to foster relationships with children, by providing staff with advice, information, training and encouragement
    • be able to support children, young people and their families to resolve complex problems. This requires the development of a close and trusting relationship with the child and family and a sound knowledge of the potential role of other specialists and agencies
    • deliver, and support others to deliver a coherent and high quality programme of education for personal and social development, with appropriate progression
    • co-ordinate and integrate services to provide seamless support for the child or young person, including in-school integration of pupil support, learning support and behaviour support, and other in-school agency provision (such as health or social work), as well as services outwith school
    • collate information to monitor support to children and track their progress, ensuring this is shared with children, young people and parents appropriately and used by staff to inform their further planning with children
    • fulfil these roles for all children and young people, and for children and young people with additional support needs, act as a contact and co-ordinator for Co-ordinated Support Plans for individual children and young people.

    The Role of Senior Managers and Headteachers

    Senior managers in schools must develop the vision of the school as a caring community, and provide leadership to staff ensuring all fulfil their role. They should:

    • communicate and model respect and a sense of equality, creating a climate of co-operation and collaboration amongst staff, as a necessary pre-requisite for promoting this amongst children and young people
    • plan to improve support to children and young people and evaluate progress against clear objectives, integrating these with developments in their implementation and development of Integrated Community Schools and Health Promoting Schools where appropriate
    • ensure that the school follows a framework of appropriate stages of intervention, in conjunction with multi-agency and authority-level structures
    • drive the development of partnerships to maximise support to the school and to pupils, ensuring effective collaboration in Co-ordinated Support Planning and integration of support for the whole school
    • ensure that staff development leads to enhanced support to children and young people, and that there are opportunities for reflection and challenge for staff
    • be responsible for excellence in supporting pupils.

    The Role of Authorities

    Authorities must add value to school level development by providing appropriate support and challenge. They should:

    • ensure staff understand the allocation of support to schools and how schools can access central specialist staff
    • draw together strands of integration, through Integrated Community Schools and integrated children's services planning
    • engage fully in Community Planning and ensure its potential to strengthen partnership working
    • engage effectively with key agencies involved in identifying and responding to the needs of children and young people who are vulnerable or in trouble, such as Child Protection Committees, the Reporter to the Children's Panel and the Social Work Department.

    Authorities play a key role in developing and enabling staff. They should:

    • provide opportunities to learn and progress for staff new to education and experienced staff
    • provide development opportunities for a range of staff, including support staff
    • ensure coherence with other training programmes relevant to supporting pupils, all delivered within a policy framework and informed by an authority vision
    • expose staff to a range of practices and practitioners through approaches such as mentoring, work shadowing and multi-agency training and networking.
    core features of personal support in schools

    Confident and empowered individuals at school level lead the development of systems for supporting pupils. Their roles and responsibilities are enabled through effective co-ordination and management at school level, underpinned by a clear vision and effective leadership at school and authority level.

    Some core features of systems for supporting children are:

    At school level

    Communicating values and ethos

    • a positive school ethos and involving children and young people
    • working with pupils to develop peer support and positive relationships
    • effective whole-school approaches for prevention with commitment from all staff
    • effective communication amongst all staff
    • involvement of parents.

    Meeting the standard for Personal Support in school

    • involving children and young people in planning to achieve and reviewing their progress
    • progression of learning in education for personal and social development
    • systematic identification of children's and young people's needs and whole-school analysis to support planning
    • systems for in-class and in-school early intervention, referral to specialists or other agencies, and monitoring that agreed actions and outcomes for children are achieved, where ownership and responsibility for children and young people referred to external provision remains with the school.

    At school and authority level

    Communicating values and ethos

    • clear roles and expectations of staff
    • creating effective relationships with partners and the community
    • supporting innovation
    • clear education authority policy framework and strategic direction.

    Building schools' capacity to meet the standard for Personal Support in school

    • provision for supporting staff and developing skills through training, mentoring and multi-disciplinary opportunities
    • support for development of effective learning resources for education for personal and social development, with coherence and progression across stages of education
    • integrated planning, implementation and evaluation of services to children
    • developing with partners out of school opportunities and recognition for children and young people's achievement
    • systems of quality assurance and review in school and in the authority.

    ISBN 0-7559-4508-5

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