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The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Acts 2004 & 2009: Consultation on Changes to the Secondary Legislation and Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice

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Annex C Making decisions about whether or not the additional support required is significant

Chapter 5 of the code of practice describes in detail the circumstances under which co-ordinated support plans have to be prepared. In particular, section 2 of the Act sets out the following requirements to be met for a co-ordinated support plan to be prepared. In practice, there can be particular difficulties in deciding when significant additional support (see (d) below) requires to be provided. Chapter 5 discusses the issue of significance in detail. The purpose of the case studies below is to consider in practical terms how the issue of significance may be considered. For the purposes of Annex C it is assumed that all the case studies fulfil the requirements (a), (b) and (c) below. What then is being considered is whether (d) holds in which case a co-ordinated support plan is required. If (d) does not hold than a co-ordinated support plan is not required.

….. a child or young person requires a plan (referred to in this Act as a "co-ordinated support plan") for the provision of additional support if-

(a) an education authority are responsible for the school education of the child or young person,

(b) the child or young person has additional support needs arising from-

(i) one or more complex factors, or

(ii) multiple factors,

(c) those needs are likely to continue for more than a year, and

(d) those needs require significant additional support to be provided-

(i) by the education authority in the exercise of any of their other functions as well as in the exercise of their functions relating to education, or

(ii) by one or more appropriate agencies (within the meaning of section 23(2)) as well as by the education authority themselves.

In considering the examples below it should be noted that:

  • the education authority decide on whether support from the appropriate agency or agencies is significant, not the appropriate agency or agencies, although clearly those involved will discuss this
  • significance itself relates to the dimensions of the support provided not to the effect of that support on the child or young person
  • the support from the appropriate agency or agencies is assumed to help the child benefit from education and achieve his or her educational objectives and the question to be answered in these examples is whether or not that support is significant and, therefore, triggers the preparation of a co-ordinated support plan.

Case study 1: A P3 pupil whose name is on the Child Protection Register

Mark finds it very hard to settle to work and to concentrate in class. His relationships with other pupils are poor, his self esteem is very low and he regularly reacts by kicking or hitting out. The psychologist is concerned about attachment difficulties. The various professionals involved provide support including: individual work by the psychologist focusing on attachment and anger management; support from a teaching assistant and the classroom teacher; attendance at a Nurture Group; and direct work with Mark by the social worker on developing self-esteem. Social work and school staff working together also supported his mother to be involved in learning how to help him with his homework and how to help him to play at home.

Agency/ies involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks / terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

Social work

Fortnightly

Experienced social worker who is able to carry out the individual work required and who can work with the psychologist and teaching staff.

1-1 direct work with the child on issues relating to self-esteem, confidence and resilience.

Likely at least one year.

In this case support is needed to secure educational objectives relating to personal and social development.

Yes

Comments: Support from the social worker is significant taking into account the frequency, nature, intensity and duration of the support and the need for it to be co-ordinated..

Agency/ies involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks / terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

Social work

Fortnightly

Experienced social worker who is able to carry out the individual work required and who can work with the psychologist and teaching staff.

1-1 direct work with the child on issues relating to self-esteem, confidence and resilience.

Likely at least one year.

In this case support is needed to secure educational objectives relating to personal and social development.

Yes

Comments: Support from the social worker is significant taking into account the frequency, nature, intensity and duration of the support and the need for it to be co-ordinated..

Case study 2: An S3 pupil who is looked after

Following a decision from the Children's Hearing, which made a statutory supervision requirement, Robin in S3 is looked after at home. He is involved in group work through social work services as identified in his Care Plan to help him reflect on his poor school attendance and its causes. The school is part of the multi-agency group which is supporting the plan. Robin is well able to engage with the curriculum but does have learning support because of reading and spelling difficulties which the school is finding difficult to deal with because of poor attendance.

Agency/ies involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks / terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

Social work

Fortnightly

Experienced local authority social worker who is able to work with Robin and the family and who can liaise with the school.

Group work to be carried out on voluntary agency premises

Group work 2 hours per fortnight involving social activities and discussion.

Supervision requirement will last at least one year.

For a 3 month period.

If the social work support achieves its outcome in terms of improving Robin's attendance then this will help the development of his literacy skills.

No

Comments: Support from the social worker is not significant in terms of the meaning of the Act because it is lasting only 3 months and takes place in a setting where a high degree of involvement or co-ordination from the school is not necessary. There will be liaison between the school and social work agency but the overall support provided by social work services is not such as to trigger the requirement for a co-ordinated support plan.

Case study 3: An S2 pupil who is looked after away from home

Joanna is on supervision because of offending behaviour and substance misuse. She has been known to social work services since she was in P1 because of parental drug abuse which led to her neglect. Subsequent foster placements did not work out well and in S2 she was placed in a residential school situated in a small town. She lives with residential child care staff in a house in the community with three other young people, attends the special school on a daily basis and has part-time attendance at the local secondary school to have the opportunity of experiencing subjects her own school is unable to offer.

Agency/ies involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks / terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

Social work

Support is ongoing because the local authority social worker is responsible for placement in the school and for ensuring that Joanna benefits from it.

Experienced local authority social worker who is able to work with Joanna and the family and who can liaise with the school and residential child care staff.

Specialist teaching and child care support provided through the placement.

There is regular contact with Joanna's family, Joanna herself, the school and child care staff.

Supervision requirement will last at least one year .

Social work support is necessary to maintain the placement and to ensure that Joanna benefits from it in the broadest sense in terms of her overall wellbeing but also in terms of her opportunity to achieve educationally.

Yes

Comments: Support from the local authority social work services is significant since they are responsible for the placement and for ensuring that within the Child's Plan prepared for Joanna there is appropriate co-ordination through the co-ordinated support plan to ensure that Joanna achieves her educational objectives.

Case study 4: A pre-school child preparing to transfer to primary school

Stuart is in his final six months of his nursery school placement. He has Asperger's syndrome and has significant difficulties with social communication. His speech and language therapist is working with the staff, parents and Stuart to help him interact more effectively with his peers. An occupational therapist is working individually with Stuart to help him improve his fine motor co-ordination which is poorer than that of his peers and to help him learn to manage his toileting and dressing more effectively.

Agency/ies involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks / terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

NHS Board

Speech and language therapist

Occupational therapist

Weekly

2x per term

Experienced speech and language therapist who has expertise in working with children with Asperger's syndrome and can advise staff and parents on appropriate strategies to use.

Experienced occupational therapist who can advise staff on the development of Stuart's fine motor skills and self help skills..

1-1 support on a 6 weekly block followed by a 6 week break. Pattern continued throughout the year.

Advice to staff and parents following sessions.

Advice to staff and parents 2x per term.

To last a year

To last a year

If Stuart is to benefit from education he needs support to improve his communication, fine motor and social skills. This support needs to be co-ordinated. The support from the speech and language therapist is significant, that from the occupational therapist is not in terms of the Act..

Yes

Comments: The speech and language therapist is providing significant support and that requires to be co-ordinated to help Stuart achieve his educational objectives. The support provided by the occupational therapist is not significant.

Case study 5: A P3 pupil attending a special school

Jamal attends a special school. He has physical difficulties stemming from cerebral palsy and needs considerable support from speech and language therapy to develop his communication skills, from physiotherapy to maintain and develop his posture and muscle tone and so that he can work at his desk, and from occupational therapy to support the development of his fine motor and self help skills. The education authority have contracted these therapists from the local NHS Board to work in the school with those pupils who need support.

Agency/ies involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks / terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

NHS Board

Speech and language therapy

Occupational therapy

Physiotherapy

Jamal is seen once a week by all three therapists.

Experienced therapists who are able to work with children within their respective disciplines and can provide advice to staff, parents and children.

There is 1-1 support for from each therapist for up to one hour weekly together with liaison with class teachers.

This will likely be ongoing throughout Jamal's school career subject to regular monitoring and review.

All therapists are providing significant support but contributing to educational objectives in different ways which all needs co-ordinated with educational input.

Yes

Comments: Although the therapists are working in the school they are employed directly by an appropriate agency, their own NHS Board, and so their contribution fulfils one of the requirements for having a co-ordinated support plan.

Case study 6: A P7 pupil attending a mainstream school

Alec in P7 has been known to speech and language therapy services since he was in nursery school. He has a long history of language and communication difficulties which have impacted quite severely on the development of his literacy skills particularly. He did have a co-ordinated support plan until he was in P5 but this was discontinued when the speech and language therapy input was reduced because it was felt that it did not need to be maintained at that level. However, his progress is still monitored by speech and language therapy who maintain contact with the school and parents.

Agency/ies

involved in addition to education

Frequency

[How often is the support provided?]

Nature

[Type - personnel, learning and teaching approaches (L&T) - degree of individualisation / differentiation, specialist resources]

Intensity

[Degree of involvement:
1-1, small group, large group]

Duration

[How long for?
over weeks /terms / years]

Test

[Is the support significant and necessary to enable educational objectives ( EOs) to be met? Do the objectives require the coordination of services - and a co-ordinated support plan - if they are to be achieved?]

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

NHS Board

Speech and language therapy

Once a term

Experienced speech and language therapist who has expertise in working with children with language and communication disorders.

Main input now is on monitoring progress, advising staff and contributing to his individualised educational programme.

Contribute to review once a term.

Over a year.

Support is helping Alec achieve his educational objectives but is not significant.

No

Comments: Alec does not require further direct support from a speech and language therapist because school staff, parents, and Alec himself, are aware of the support strategies required. The speech and language therapist continues to advise the staff, parents and Alec, the ultimate aim being to withdraw involvement at the end of P7.