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Additional support for learning

Additional Support for Learning

The Scottish Government want all children and young people to be able to get the most from the learning opportunities which are available to them, so that they can realise their full potential, in learning, in work, and in life.

Through Getting it Right for Every Child and Curriculum For Excellence, the Scottish Government has set out its ambition for services provided to children and young people, and for their learning. An important part of our approach is the recognition that all children and young people are different. To enable them to reach their full potential some will need additional support.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the legal framework for the provision of additional support for learning. The legislation was amended by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009. The Act is structured around the concept of support being needed for any reason, and for short or long term periods determined by the individual learning needs of the child or young person.  The key duties on education authorities are to identify, make provision for, and review provision for the additional support needs of children and young people for whose education they are responsible. 

The Act also places duties on education authorities, (and in certain circumstances health, social work and skills development Scotland) to work to plan and make joint provision for children and young people with complex or multiple additional support needs.  Where their needs are significant, require support from education and another partner agency, and will last more than one year, children and young people may have a statutory co-ordinated support plan to bring together all of the support to be provided to meet their learning needs.

The Education Scotland website provides further information and helpful links on Additional Support Learning.

Education (Scotland) Act 2016

The Education Scotland Act 2016 which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in March 2016 makes amendments to the Additional Support for Learning Act.  These amendments provide children aged 12-15, who are able to use them, with a range of rights under the Additional Support for Learning Act. 

The 2016 Act is the second amendment to the Additional Support for Learning Act. To support understanding of the amended legislation a Keeling Schedule has been produced.This shows the amendments which were made to the Act by the 2016 Act (in blue and purple) those made by the 2009 Act are already incorporated.

As part of the preparation for the implementation of the Act, information for parents was developed. This explains all of the provisions of the Act.Page 6 sets out information on Additional Support for Learning changes.

These changes will come into force in January 2018.

The Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning (AGASL)

The Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning formally advise the Scottish Government and Scottish Ministers of issues relating to the implementation of the Additional Support for Learning legislation. This may relate to policy and practice development and may include issues which impact on the successful implementation of Additional Support for Learning.

The Group is currently chaired by Jan Savage, Executive Director, Campaigns and External Affairs at Enable Scotland and the secretariat is provided by the Scottish Government.

The Supporting Children’s Learning Code of Practice  

The Supporting Children’s Learning code of practice explains the duties on education authorities and other agencies to support children's and young people's learning. It provides guidance on the Act's provisions as well as on the supporting framework of secondary legislation. The code uses the term "the Act" to include, where appropriate, the secondary legislative provisions and includes features of good practice on how these can be applied.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 has been amended by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016. 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, associated Regulations and the statutory guidance (The Supporting Children’s Learning Code of Practice) are being updated.

Supporting Children's and Young People's Learning: A report on progress of implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (As Amended)

The purpose of the reports to Parliament is to document the progress in implementing the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended). The report fulfils the duties placed on Scottish Ministers at sections 26A and section 27A of the amended Act. These duties are:

  • that Scottish Ministers must report to the Scottish Parliament in each of the 5 years after the commencement of the Act on what progress has been made in each of those years to ensure that sufficient information relating to children and young people with additional support needs is available to effectively monitor the implementation of this Act. (section 26A)
  • that Scottish Ministers must each year collect from each education authority information on:
    • the number of children and young persons for whose school education the authority are responsible having additional support needs,
    • the principal factors giving rise to the additional support needs of those children and young persons,
    • the types of support provided to those children and young persons, and
    • the cost of providing that support.

Scottish Ministers must publish the information collected each year. (section 27A)

In addition to the information required by the Act, Scottish Ministers will provide further information and evidence from a number of sources. This will enable the data required by the duties to be set in context and offer a fuller picture of implementation of the legislation. Sources include: Enquire, ASL Resolve and Common Ground Mediation, Independent Adjudication, Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland, the Scottish Government, Take Note, Education Scotland and the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning (AGASL).

This information presents as full a picture as possible of the implementation of Additional Support for Learning. This includes information from the national statistics collection of data on pupils.

The Reports can be accessed here.

Independent Advice and Guidance

Enquire provide independent and impartial advice for teachers, parents, local authorities and others caring for or working with children and young people with additional support needs.

Enquire have a confidential telephone helpline, website (www.enquire.org.uk) and online enquiry service. Their confidential helpline is available to call Monday to Friday 9am – 4.30pm on 0345 123 2303. Their trained helpline advisers will listen respectfully to your questions and concerns, provide advice on the education and additional support for learning system, (including resolving disagreements) and explain how it affects your situation.

Parents may wish to consult Enquire’s parents’ guide to additional support for learning which outlines parents and your childrens rights, the roles and responsibilities of staff involved with your child, what to expect at meetings and much more.