Education of children unable to attend school due to ill health: guidance

Guidance for education authorities.

Key rights, duties and principles

9. There are a number of common principles, outlined below, which should be consistently applied in identifying the needs of and making provision for the education of children and young people who require support to make the most of their learning because of ill health.

10. Every child and young person has a right to be provided with an education - Article 2, Protocol 1 of the ECHR provides for the right not to be denied an education and for the State to respect the right for parents to have their children educated in accordance with their religious and other philosophical convictions. This right to education is also enshrined in section 1 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000. It is also one of the key Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [9] (although this does not form part of domestic law as such).

11. Parents have a duty to provide education for their child [10] , either by ensuring they attend a local authority school, or by making alternative arrangements such as home education or sending their child to an independent school. They also have a choice of early learning and childcare for their child. Local authorities have a duty to provide adequate and efficient education provision in their area [11] . They are also responsible for making special arrangements for a child or young person to receive education elsewhere than at an educational establishment if they are unable to attend school because of their prolonged ill health [12] .

12. The rights, wellbeing, needs and circumstances of the individual child or young person should at all times be at the centre of the decision-making process. This means that each case will have to be treated on its own circumstances, taking into account medical advice, the child's and parent's views and that there will be no single approach or collection of approaches which will necessarily cater for most cases.

13. Given the range of different services involved in the provision of education, which may be in different locations across Scotland, it is absolutely essential that there is clear communication between the different agencies, services, professionals and the parent/carer and pupil concerned. Getting it Right for Every Child (see paragraph 15 to 18) provides a framework for different services to work consistently together, putting the child at the centre.

14. All children and young people are entitled to support with their learning, where a need is identified, whatever their circumstances [13] . This includes all children eligible for ELCC. Curriculum for Excellence (see paragraph 19 ) entitles all children and young people to experience a broad general education during the period from the early years to the end of S3; to experience a senior phase from S4 where they can achieve qualifications; and support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities which Curriculum for Excellence can provide. The Supporting Learners [14] framework which has been developed to articulate this entitlement links directly to the duties of the Education (Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended).


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