1. The Scottish Government opened a 12 week consultation on The Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice, and associated regulations, on 19 June 2017; the consultation closed on 12 September 2017. The purpose of this consultation was to seek views from stakeholders involved in supporting children and young people with additional support needs. This includes parents and carers, those working in schools, education authorities, health boards, social work services, voluntary sector services, and those who are involved in providing dispute resolution services including: mediation, independent adjudication and Tribunals. The consultation would also have been of interest to those organisations and individuals who have an interest in the promotion of children's rights in Scotland.
2. The consultation sought views on The Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice (third edition) 2017 , The Additional Support for Learning Dispute Resolution (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017, The Section 70 (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 and The Additional Support for Learning (Collection of Data) (Scotland) Regulations 2017.
3. In preparation for the changes in January 2018 the Code of Practice, which is statutory guidance, was updated to take account of:
- the extension to children's rights, with regards to additional support for learning in school education (eligible children), this is woven throughout the Code to ensure that all references to rights include the appropriate children's rights.
- the new requirement on education authorities to assess capacity and whether or not there may be adverse impact on wellbeing, with regards to children aged 12+ using their extended rights.
- the information that education authorities should use to reach conclusions on capacity and adverse impact on wellbeing, ideally using information that should already be known about the child.
- the associated appeal processes where a decision is taken that a child does not have capacity or there is adverse impact on wellbeing and vice versa.
- the requirements on Tribunals to assess capacity and whether or not there may be adverse impact on wellbeing.
- the functions of the Children's Support Service to be established by Scottish Ministers.
- Other relevant legislative and policy developments including: Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (as far as possible at this stage), Corporate Parenting Responsibilities, Looked After Children Strategy, National Improvement Framework etc.
4. This consultation also sought comments on regulations relating to the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 amendments to the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004:
- The Additional Support for Learning Dispute Resolution (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017 amends the 2005 regulation to enable eligible children to use independent adjudication in their own right.
- The Additional Support for Learning (Collection of Data) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 are created to continue to require Scottish Ministers to collect and publish specified information. This regulation recreates the current requirements on Ministers, so there is in effect no change to these requirements at this time.
5. The consultation also sought comments on a regulation relating to the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 amendments to the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. The Section 70 (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 sets out a broad timescale within which complaints to Ministers will be considered. The regulation sets a maximum timescale. This timescale will be drawn out further in guidance which has also been published for consultation  .
6. Further information on the regulations and consultation responses to them can be found on pages 21- 23.
7. The consultation questionnaire contained 16 questions, 13 relating to the Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice and 3 relating to the associated regulations. All questions except question 13, which was open-ended, sought a yes or no answer with additional text fields allowing respondents to provide reasons explaining their selection.
Overview of Consultation responses
8. There were a total of 49 responses received for this consultation. 38 of those responses came from organisations, whilst the remaining 11 were submitted by individuals.
Only answers from respondents who gave permission for publication are published. 39 out of 49 respondents agreed to this. These responses have been published on the Scottish Government's Consultation Hub and they can be viewed by accessing the following link: https://consult.gov.scot/supporting-learners/code-of-practice/consultation/published_select_respondent. All responses were taken account of and have been reported on within this report, but the percentages used in the report refer to those whose responses were able to be captured against the structure of the consultation questionnaire and completed a RIF.
9. All respondents were given the opportunity to submit their responses anonymously, or for their responses to be anonymised in reporting. Prior to publication, all responses were moderated to ensure no inappropriate language or information which could potentially identify individuals by name.
Action as a result of consultation
10. Overall, the response to the consultation was positive. There were suggestions for amendments. In the main, these related to particular areas of the guidance rather than the guidance as a whole, and therefore are specific in nature. An overview of updates to the Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice following the consultation is below:
- The link to early years services, including the Universal Health Visiting Pathway and the Family Nurse Partnership ( FNP).
- The role of the children's support service.
- The definitions of eligible pre-school child, young person and looked after children.
- The respective responsibilities and roles of parents, young people and eligible children.
- The role of the Scottish Agricultural College (now SRUC).
- Clarified what is meant by social and emotional factors to ensure links made to prejudice based bullying.
- Emphasised the responsibilities in relation to establishing additional support needs and co-ordinated support planning for looked after children.
- Included information on Developing the Young Workforce.
- Clarified requirements for looked after children and those leaving care under the Children and Young People (Scotland) 2014 Act.
- Included those who are adopted in the list of examples of reasons why children and young people may require additional support.
11. In addition to the public consultation, the Scottish Government held 2 meetings with the representatives of the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning, Association of Directors of Education and the Association of Support for Learning Officers. These included a range of representatives including parents, third sector and statutory organisations. These discussions were very helpful and constructive. We would like to thank everyone who responded to the consultation and gave their time to make a contribution to this consultation.
12. The Code and associated regulations were laid in the Scottish Parliament on 26 October 2017, for a 40 day period. Subject to Parliamentary consideration, the Code is expected to be published by the end of 2017.
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