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.

Annex A: Case Studies

Children now have the right to carry out an action under a provision of the Additional Support for Learning Act. For example they could ask for an assessment of whether they have additional support needs

Gary is now 12 years of age. He recently started his new secondary school based in a new town in central Scotland. At primary school he was achieving well in line with expectations and in secondary he is now making progress towards attaining outcomes at Third Level across many of the curriculum areas and in literacy and numeracy. His end of year report from the primary school to parents mentioned his mature attitude within lessons and his ability to show understanding of challenging problems. In the report on progress in health and wellbeing the teacher had commented on his enjoyment in learning and his positive social and mental wellbeing.

After several weeks in secondary Gary had his settling in interview with his form tutor who was the key adult in the school for a group of 20 children. His form tutor gave Gary praise for his approach to secondary transition and indicated he was happy with the feedback he was receiving from Gary's teachers. Gary shared that he was having some headaches and finding it hard to concentrate in lessons, particularly when faced with writing tasks. He had asked the class co-operative teacher for support on occasion in English.

Gary asked if he could be assessed for dyslexia as he said other children in his class got support for their dyslexia. His form tutor assessed that Gary was mature and showed good understanding based on evidence from assessment benchmarks. In discussion, Gary agreed he would encounter no adverse impact on his wellbeing. The form tutor told Gary he would proceed with his request for an assessment and emailed the learning support teacher and copied in the school's educational psychologist. He told Gary that he can access advocacy support which is part of the new Children's Support Service. Gary said that he was happy and did not want to use the Advocacy Service. His form tutor mentioned that the option was there for Gary to use advocacy support to enable him to prepare for his assessment (if he had any concerns) and to understand the outcome of his assessment.

Gary was pleased to hear this but was happy to go ahead on the advice of his form tutor. The form tutor contacted Gary's parent to reassure her of the strengths in Gary's early stages of secondary school and share his view that Gary would benefit from an assessment of difficulties he was encountering in class. He said he would get back to Gary and his mother before the end of the week with news of progress with Gary exercising his rights for an assessment in line with additional support legislation.

The right's Children have to decide about provisions of the Act have been extended, and are now broadly similar to the rights of parents and young people. For instance, a child can decide that they should be considered for a coordinated support plan ( CSP)

Leeanne is looked after and accommodated by the council and lives in a residential unit. She attends the local secondary school and is aged 15. She has been receiving additional support for autism. She has spoken with her care worker who says to Leeanne that she should request that a coordinated support plan ( CSP) to be prepared as she is autistic and looked after.

Leeanne speaks to the principal teacher of support for learning and says her care worker says she should have a CSP. Leeanne says that she thinks she should have a CSP. The Principle Teacher has been working with Leeanne to build her ability to manage her support needs. She views her as having good understanding generally in terms of comprehension and also in understanding her needs. Her view of Leeanne's positive approach to her support needs gave her no concerns about whether to proceed. She said to Leeanne that she would raise her request with the educational psychologist for the school. She says that a meeting will take place at an early opportunity to consider whether to prepare a CSP.

She contacts the psychologist and the care worker to suggest a CSP meeting takes place to consider whether Leeanne meets the criteria for a CSP. She suggests to Leeanne and her care worker that they make contact with the Children's Support Service to secure Leeanne's views ahead of the meeting. The Principle Teacher suggested to Leeanne that she needs to discuss with the Support Service whether she wants to attend the meeting or part of the meeting.

John has social, emotional and behavioural needs and attends an independent special school. John is 15 years old. He feels that he has made progress with his management of his needs and wishes to go to his local mainstream school.

John is working towards attaining across Second level with Curriculum for Excellence and has experienced learning at Third level too. It is the view of staff at the school that John has not sufficient maturity and understanding to request a further assessment of his additional support needs.

At his review meeting John is allowed to sit at the start of the meeting to hear about the purpose of the meeting and to meet the new educational psychologist from John's education authority. At the meeting John mentions that he does not have support needs and wants that to be known. The educational psychologist offers to reassess John. The school indicates that John still can have emotional outbursts and that he is immature for his age.

The teacher assesses that John in exercising his right to request reassessment is likely to display challenging behaviour and show signs of stress. John disagrees angrily and swears at the teacher. He asks John to leave the room.

John refuses to leave, he kicks over a chair and threatens the teacher. He is asked to leave again but refuses to move. John's key teacher moves over to sit beside John and reminds him how well he has done throughout today's meeting. He reassures John that he has a right to ask for an assessment and suggests that they discuss it further outside the meeting and come back in again in 10 minutes. John and his advocate leave the room together. John refuses to accept any guidance or advice and begins to get angry. He starts to shout and swear and refuses to go back into the meeting.

The school indicates that John was unable to exercise his rights without showing adverse impact on his wellbeing through his emotional outburst, challenging behaviour and swearing. They have concerns that he does not feel nurtured. The educational psychologists suggests that the meeting be ended at present, that she should arrange to meet John to discuss an assessment

Children now have the right to information and advice, including advice and information about a coordinated support plan

Alana is in S3 and aged 14. She has been progressing well across Third level experiences and outcomes in Curriculum for Excellence. Alana is a young carer and she feels she is struggling with helping her mother who is disabled and her sisters. She is the oldest of three and each day takes her sisters to primary school before walking to the secondary school. She is occasionally late to school.

Alana speaks with her guidance teacher and asks if the guidance teacher will speak to her maths teacher as Alana arrives late to his classes sometimes and he has issued a warning to her about punctuality. Alana also asked if the guidance teacher had any information and advice about young carers.

The guidance teacher considers Alana as has having the maturity and understanding to make the request and receive information. She says she'll pass on some weblinks on young carers and contacts with someone in the education authority who links with a Young Carers Group. She assesses that there is no adverse impact on Alana's wellbeing. She sends an email to Alana's maths teacher reminding him of the information on Alana as a young carer and asks him to monitor Alana's timekeeping but to issue no warnings about punctuality.

Later that day she phones Alana's mother to let her know that Alana is doing really well at school, that she is showing herself to have a degree of maturity beyond her years and a good understanding of how to do well in school. She lets mother know that Alana will get further information and advice as a young carer and reassures mother that Alana is doing really well in school and if she needs further support she just needs to let the guidance teacher know.

Omar's family are refugees from Syria relocated to a housing estate in a city in Scotland. Omar's school in Aleppo had been bombed and classmates killed. In one of the refugee camps he had been able to return to education.

Omar is 14 years old, speaks Arabic and has made a good start after his recent enrolment in secondary school. He is well supported within the school's Bilingual base where he works with other English as a Second Language ( EAL) learners. He is building up his timetable in classes where English language demands are not creating a barrier to his learning.

Omar particularly enjoys maths, Art and design and PE lessons. Socially, Omar is getting on well with his peers. He is a skilled footballer. Omar has impressed his school mates with his football abilities though there have been a couple of instances when he has had emotional outbursts when his team is defeated.

His key contact is with his EAL teacher and Imran, his Peer Educator Buddy, a senior student who is one of a group supporting Omar's form class. Imram chats regularly with Omar and helps out in a couple of his classes. Omar has an upcoming review meeting to consider his progress in secondary school. He asks his EAL teacher if Imran can attend his review meeting to speak up for him.

Omar's EAL teacher is of the view that Omar in his time in school has demonstrated sufficient maturity and understanding of his support needs to attend the review and to have Imran support him. At present, she has a concern, given Omar's experiences, that his wellbeing may still be affected by past events. However she decides in discussion with Omar that he should attend the meeting with Imran. She tells Omar to let his mother know that an interpreter will attend the review and that she will ask the interpreter to phone his mother to let her know of Omar's participation in the meeting.

Children now have the right to their views being expressed regarding the provisions of the act

Asif is 12 years of age and in P7 at his local primary school. He receives additional support for learning for his challenging behaviour and social communication challenges. Asif has been identified as more able, particularly in maths. He is attaining very well across Third level outcomes and is achieving some Fourth level outcomes in maths.

In P6 an initial transition review was held with Asif and his parents, his P6 teacher and a pastoral support teacher from secondary school. Asif sat in on part of the review. Halfway through P7 a further review is being held to plan in greater detail for Asif's transfer to secondary. Asif spoke with his parents and they agreed with him that he should participate to a greater degree in this review. Asif spoke with his primary 7 teacher and said that he wanted to participate fully in his review for secondary school.

Asif's teacher recognises his maturity as well as his great understanding of how his condition impacts on his life, particularly in school. His teacher is concerned though that Asif may have too high expectations of himself on moving to the secondary school. She assesses that Asif clearly has sufficient maturity and understanding to participate in the review. She speaks with Asif and asks if he will be positive about the review.

Theresa has mental wellbeing issues, she is 14 years old and has a place at her local secondary school. Theresa has an eating disorder which can have an impact on her health at school. Theresa has previously had a part-time placement at school in order to help her manage her disorder. She has been making improvements with her diet.

She has requested a further assessment of her additional support needs to receive additional support to attend school full-time. Her pastoral care teacher has taken on board her request and is clear that Theresa's maturity and understanding are well-reflected in her comprehension of her needs as well as her maturity in making progress in handling her condition. Her assessment is that she has capacity in this issue.

Theresa and her parents are keen for the review of her needs to reassess her support needs. While her pastoral care teacher is supportive of Theresa, the depute head teacher in charge of Theresa's year group is concerned that in exercising her right to reassessment of her needs she may feel her wellbeing suffer.

The depute headteacher and pastoral care teacher have considered Theresa's likely progress against the indicators of wellbeing considering positive or adverse impact using an assessment tool from GIRFEC self evaluation across the indicators Safe, Healthy, Nurtured, Achieving, Responsible, Respected Included. The staff agree that there will be positive impact in the nurtured, achieving, responsible, respected and included indicators given Theresa being assessed as able to attend school fulltime.

However they were unable to agree that Theresa would not encounter a negative impact on the indicators, safe and healthy. The depute head teacher decides to invite the school's educational psychologist to meet with Theresa and parents ahead of an upcoming review. She shares with them the indicators and gains their assessment of positive or adverse effect across the indicators.

They agree that with appropriate support from guidance teacher, a supportive girls group in the school and an amended timetable in respect of physical education lessons will be of benefit to her. They agree that in exercising her rights there will likely be no adverse impact on her wellbeing in the short term. They agree that Theresa will be in contact with her guidance teacher everyday in the dinner hall. The teacher will report back every Friday on Theresa's progress and a further review will take place in a month.


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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