The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (“the Act”) provides the legal framework for identifying and addressing the additional support needs of children and young people who face a barrier, or barriers, to learning.
The Act aims to ensure that all children and young people are provided with the necessary support to help them work towards achieving their full potential. It also promotes collaborative working among all those supporting children and young people and sets out the rights of children, young people and parents within the system.
The Act has been amended by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”). This extension provides that children will have the same rights as young people and parents under the Additional Support for Learning legislation, except in relation to placing requests and the use of mediation services. It is intended that these amendments to the Act will commence in January 2018.
In preparation for this, there is a need to update Regulations and statutory guidance. We are already currently consulting on:
• The Supporting Children’s Learning Code of Practice (statutory guidance to the Act)
• the Additional Support for Learning (Collection of Data) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
• The Section 70 (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
• The Additional Support for Learning Dispute Resolution (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017
The consultation on the Code of Practice and associated Regulations will close on 12 September 2017. The consultation can be accessed at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/supporting-learners/code-of-practice/
Also in preparation for the amendments to the Act, non-statutory guidance has been developed on the provisions within the Act which require:
• Assessment of capacity for children in relation to the use of their rights and;
• Consideration of whether there may be adverse impact on the child’s wellbeing as a result of using their rights.
This consultation seeks views in relation to this non-statutory guidance: Extending Children’s Rights- Guidance for education authorities and school staff on assessment of capacity and consideration of wellbeing of children who have attained 12 years of age in respect of additional support for learning in school education.
The purpose of this guidance is to provide education authorities and schools with non-statutory guidance and information on the new rights of children who have attained 12 years of age and who have capacity.
The guidance includes advice on assessing capacity of children, aged 12 to 15 to exercise their rights in respect of additional support for learning in school education.
The guidance also provides information for considering the impact on a child’s wellbeing when exercising these rights.