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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


Scottish schools have at their heart a vision of enabling all children and young people to thrive and achieve their full potential as learners and as members of society. Supporting pupils' personal, social and emotional development in school has been a focus of professional commitment and growing expertise for many years. The National Review of Guidance builds on this track record and confirms the importance of Personal Support to pupils as we develop and review the curriculum and the ways in which we enable children and young people to engage in their communities as citizens.

The National Review of Guidance has its origins in the Discipline Task Group publication Better Behaviour - Better Learning (2001). The report made 36 recommendations and acknowledged the wide ranging issues that guidance staff in schools engage with and confirmed the importance of early intervention at nursery and primary school. The report also recommended the integration of the different kinds of support provided in school through learning support, behaviour support and guidance. The Discipline Task Group also recommended a review of the nature and purpose of guidance at primary and secondary school levels, and the training of guidance staff.

This document reports on the review process undertaken by SEED and the National Review of Guidance Reference Group (membership shown in Annex D). Two studies informed the review: a research study by Scottish Council for Research in Education, Supporting Pupils: study of Guidance in Scottish Schools (SCRE Centre, 2004); and a consultation with harder to reach pupils and parents who receive support for learning outwith school, reported in Support in School, the Views of Harder to Reach Groups, (TASC Agency and CaskieCo, 2004). The HMIE report Personal Support in Scottish Schools (HMIE, 2004) also supported the work of the Reference Group. The key findings of these reports are presented in brief in Annex B of this report.

This report:

  • describes common principles for the development of Personal Support in Scottish schools
  • sets out a standard of support for pupils and parents
  • clarifies the respective roles of school staff and authorities in the provision and development of support to pupils
  • recognises the role of partner agencies in supporting pupils and assisting staff in schools to provide support
  • points to current practices in Scotland which exemplify different approaches emerging to providing Personal Support in school.

This document will enable education authorities to assess the strengths of their approaches to the provision of Personal Support in schools and in other education placements for children and young people. Integrated Community Schools are becoming the norm throughout Scotland in which partner agencies also contribute to supporting pupils, and the integration of children's services planning is providing strategic direction.

The review confirms that there is effective practice in most schools. A range of models has been shown to be effective and local circumstances and needs should inform development without the need for national prescription. While school-level development ensures pupils receive support within a caring school community, this is enhanced by authority-level development of staff training, quality assurance and strategic partnerships. HMIE play an important role in supporting authorities and schools to develop and reflect on their support to pupils. The Reference Group for the National Review of Guidance sought to confirm throughout its work a strong commitment to Personal Support in schools based on evidence of the excellent progress that has been achieved in the last 30 years. The examples of practice in schools used throughout the report confirm this; these are provided to illustrate the range of practices being developed rather than to describe a preferred approach.