Additional support for learning: guidance on assessing capacity and considering wellbeing

Guidance on the assessment of capacity and consideration of wellbeing in respect of additional support for learning in school education.

Chapter Four Consideration of Adverse Impact on Wellbeing

34 When a child requests to exercise a particular right, the Act also requires education authorities to assess the child's capacity and consider any potential adverse impact on wellbeing that the use of the particular right may cause. It is expected that education authorities' consideration will be informed by the knowledge and experiences of the child which is known by those who work most closely with them. This will allow a range of perspectives and information to be taken into account in reaching a rounded, evidence based, decision about any potential adverse impact to the child's wellbeing as a result of using a particular right.

Communicating about assessment of capacity and consideration of adverse impact of wellbeing taking place

35 The authority must inform the child and the parent of the child that an assessment is to take place, undertake the assessments and reach a conclusion on those matters. This must be undertaken prior to the right being used.

36 For example, where a child requests that there is a review of their co-ordinated support plan, the assessment of capacity and consideration of adverse impact on wellbeing should be carried out, prior to any review being undertaken in response to the child's request. Where the request is made, the authority must notify the child's parents of the request to review the co-ordinated support plan, and inform the child's parents of their intention to reach a conclusion on the capacity, and any adverse impact on wellbeing of the request.

Consideration of adverse impact on a child's wellbeing

37 An education authority is to be satisfied that in exercising their rights, children will not experience any adverse impact on their wellbeing. The child's wellbeing is described by the wellbeing indicators in Getting it right for every child and focuses on the child being: Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, and Included. These have been incorporated into the Act for this purpose. Further detail on what is meant by each of the indicators is available from . This understanding will support full consideration of the potential impact of using the right, in order to establish whether that impact is likely to be adverse.

38 When considering adverse impact on a child's wellbeing using wellbeing indicators, when exercising their rights, an education authority can take into account the following factors:

  • consider the impact on the child's health and wellbeing as part of Curriculum for Excellence, where their progress is assessed as the child is developing the knowledge and understanding skills, attributes and capabilities, which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing.
  • consider any adverse impact on the indicators of wellbeing, a variety of assessment tools can be helpful including for example:
  • the Getting it right for every child interactive guide
  • support from an adult who knows the child well. The consideration of the teacher and school staff who know the child, will be based on a wide variety of sources of evidence including: observing day-to-day learning, learning conversations and/or planned periodic holistic assessment.
  • For children who are on the child protection register, the National Guidance on Child Protection (2014) will also support consideration of adverse impact on wellbeing.
  • Taking such factors into account, in almost all instances the class teacher, pastoral care staff or support teacher, will be able to consider any adverse impact of a child exercising their rights. Teachers will discuss with the child, to consider whether there would be any adverse impact of them exercising particular rights. In a few instances, the assessment could be supported through the advice and guidance of education authority officials, such as an educational psychologist and through other agencies involved in supporting wellbeing. It is recognised that Looked After Children who have recently moved placement may not be well known by their school. Information to support decision making should be drawn from information which is known about the child from their child's plan, and from those who know them well outside of school, for example, their social worker.

Timescales for decision

39 There is no timescale set in statute for these decisions to be completed. As this decision is made in relation to a child who in almost all cases will already be known to the education authority through its schools, this decision should be able to me made quickly. It is not intended that a child's wish to use their rights should be unnecessarily delayed. If a clear decision is not able to be reached quickly, the decision to take additional support to reach a decision must be made expeditiously.

Decision on whether there may be adverse impact on wellbeing

40 When an education authority reaches a decision on whether or not a child using their rights may have an adverse impact on wellbeing, they must inform the child and their parent or carer of their conclusions, as soon as reasonably practicable, after the decision is reached.

41 In the circumstances where the child or their parent does not agree with the outcome of these considerations, they may refer this to the Tribunal for consideration. Where it is decided that the child is not considered to have capacity and/or there is adverse impact on wellbeing, the education authority (and the child) may not carry out the right.

Assessment of capacity and adverse impact on wellbeing further advice

Principles of assessment of capacity (maturity and understanding) of children aged 12-15 years of age in respect of additional support needs in school education in Scotland

42 In carrying out duties and responsibilities, staff should give consideration to the following principles: (as well as the factors in chapter 3)

  • Assess using a wide variety of sources.
  • Ensure active participation of child in realising their rights, and secure their wellbeing.
  • Involve and inform parents. Further information can be found in chapter 7 (working with children and families) of the Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice.
  • Quality assure and moderate practice within and across schools.

Assess using a wide variety of sources

43 Evidence of progress and achievement will come from a variety of sources including:

  • observing day-to-day learning within the classroom or working area;
  • observation and feedback from learning activities that takes place in other environments, for example, outdoors, on work placements;
  • coursework, including tests;
  • learning conversations;
  • planned periodic holistic assessment; and will
  • avoid over bureaucratic processes.

44 Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, attributes and capabilities, which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing, now and in the future. Wellbeing is one of the key outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence. Assessment in health and wellbeing has to take account of the breadth and purpose of the wide range of learning experiences of children and young people in this curriculum area.

45 Children's progress and achievement in many aspects of health and wellbeing will depend upon the stage of growth, development and maturity of the individual, upon social issues and upon the community context. From the early years through to the senior stages, children's and young people's progress will be seen in how well they are developing and applying their knowledge, understanding and skills in, for example, key features of healthy living and relationships and in approaches to personal planning, assessing risk and decision making.

46 Assessment in health and wellbeing should also link with other areas of the curriculum, within and beyond the classroom, offering children and young people opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in more complex, demanding or unfamiliar learning or social contexts. (See examples of wellbeing indicators on page 12 and resources section page 21).

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