Improved rights for children with additional support needs.
Children and young people in Scotland now have the most rights in Europe when it comes to accessing the support they need to reach their full potential.
Amendments to the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004 have now come in to force, extending a range of rights, to children aged 12-15, for the first time.
Previously only available to parents, carers and over 16s the extension of rights means that children will now have more say than ever before in decisions about their education.
Children can now:
- Ask for their additional support needs to be identified and planned for
- Receive advice and information about their additional support needs
- Be part of discussions about the support that they will receive
- Access dispute resolution procedures to resolve concerns
These rights will be balanced by safeguards and supported by a newly created service which will help children access advice at every stage of the process to enable them to become fully involved in decisions about their education.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, launched the amendments during a visit to Wallace High School. He said:
“We want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up, that means ensuring every young person is given an equal chance to fulfil their potential.
“I am already extremely proud of our record on inclusion but these new measures go even further to ensure that children in Scotland have the most rights in Europe when it comes to accessing the support they need within the education system.
“It is an extremely fitting start to the Year of Young People that children will now be more involved in the decisions that affect their education and be given a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives.”
Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA’s Children and Young People Spokesperson said:
“We are pleased that the Act now gives children from the age of twelve with the capacity to do so, the ability to exercise the same rights as parents, carers and young people sixteen and over.
“It is fitting that this change comes at the beginning of the Year of Young People. That this will be aided by a service providing advice, information, advocacy and legal representation is key in ensuring children are supported in exploring and expressing their views and needs when it comes to support for their education.
"Local authorities will continue to work with children, young people, their families and the services that support them through the Getting it Right for Every Child, whole system approach, and this new service is a welcome addition to the support available.”
A full list of the rights extended is available here.
My Rights, My Say, also launched today, is a support service which consists of four parts. Providing advice and information, advocacy support (for children to prepare for and understand the consequences of their own and their parents use of rights), legal representation for Tribunal references and a service which independently seeks children’s views to inform decision making.