Developing an Outcomes Model for Disabled Children in Scotland

This project focused on better understanding ‘outcome models’ for all children and young people and for children and young people in the diverse and challenging context of disability.

1 Introduction

1.1 Scotland has clear goals and high aspirations for all of its children and young people. The Scottish Parliament has approved a Motion stating, in part, that: "Scotland will be the best place in the world to grow up" (Scottish Parliament, Official Report 14 March 2013). But is Scotland the best place to grow up if you have a disability? If not, then how will we begin to move more fully towards this goal?

1.2 Scotland has a very clear set of high-level national outcomes. There is also a set of more specific national outcomes many of which are supported by Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and by achieving the four key Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) capacities.

1.3 Neither GIRFEC nor CfE provide the answer to what these outcomes mean, or how they can be applied in practice, to the lives of individual disabled children and young people.

1.4 This project focused on better understanding 'outcome models' for all children and young people and for children and young people in the diverse and challenging context of disability.

1.5 In undertaking this work we had to take account of:

  • The very wide definition of disability being used, involving a large number of different disabilities and individual impairments, not to mention further variations on account of the age of the disabled child or young person.
  • The wide range of situations within which many disabled children and young people live, including for example, whether they are looked-after children, in hospital, in secure accommodation, or in separate education facilities from their non-disabled peers.
  • The wide range of agencies and services working with each disabled child or young person, all of which have their own assumptions, perspectives, terminology and working methods.

1.6 This suggested that an outcomes model would have to be extensive to address all these needs and situations. From the start of the project, it was apparent that many people are concurrently developing outcomes models at different levels and of varying degrees of complexity.

1.7 Additionally, the large number of outcomes models being developed around Scotland were addressing different issues according to whether they were giving priority to:

  • Personal outcomes for individual disabled children or young people
  • Service or organisational outcomes
  • National and/or locally-determined outcomes
  • Different fields (primarily education, health, and social services).

Ultimately, these have to feed into a set of national outcomes. So, do they all relate to each other? And if they do, how?

1.8 Our work focussed on mapping and understanding the work of the many different agencies and professionals across Scotland involved in identifying outcomes for disabled children and young people. The approach taken is described in Appendix A.

1.9 GIRFEC is the context for work with all children in Scotland and this work was framed in the context of GIRFEC's SHANARRI wellbeing indicators: "Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, Included". Any outcomes and measurement framework must address GIRFEC and how it applies to each disabled child and young person ..

1.10 This report provides an overview of how outcome models and approaches are being developed for disabled children and young people in Scotland. In this fast-evolving field, this work is a starting point providing a foundation for the considerable work still needing to be undertaken.


Email: Fiona McDiarmid

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