Extending children's rights guidance: consultation

Consultation on non-statutory guidance for education authorities and schools regarding the rights of children aged 12 to 15 years.

Chapter One: Introduction


1 In Scotland children who have attained 12 years of age are now empowered by the extension of their rights in respect of additional support for learning in school education. Children now broadly have similar rights to parents and young people for their additional support needs. The extension to children's rights is accompanied by safeguards in the form of assessments of capacity and consideration of impact on a child's wellbeing.

The purpose of this guidance

2 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. This guidance complements that which is provided in the statutory guidance on the Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act 2004, the Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice.

Who is this guidance for?

3 This guidance is primarily for staff in education authorities and schools including:

  • Officials in education authorities with responsibilities for additional support for learning and educational psychologists who work directly or advise schools about children and young people with additional support needs.
  • Headteachers of primary, secondary and special schools.
  • Support for learning teachers, centrally or school-based at primary or secondary stages who act as the lead professional for children with additional support needs.
  • Primary teachers at P7 stages or teachers in special schools and pastoral care and guidance teachers in secondary schools who are the key person that knows the child well in their school education.

4 Those in independent or grant-aided schools, health boards, social work services and other voluntary services or agencies who are providing help to education authorities to fulfil their functions under the Act may also contribute and provide supporting evidence to schools and education authorities in these considerations and decisions.

5 This guidance outlines the new rights children have and offers advice on the assessment of capacity and consideration of wellbeing of children who have attained 12 years of age within school education in respect of their rights within additional support for learning legislation. In this context, there are important differences for decisions about capacity compared to those for young people, (aged 16 and over in school education,) or adults within services including education, social care or health services.


Email: Emily McLean, capacityandwellbeing@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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