Scottish education has an inclusive ethos. Everyone involved in the education of Scotland's children and young people is working towards a single, clear vision for Scottish education – excellence and equity for every child and young person in Scotland.
Each and every child and young person should be involved in their own education and have a voice to shape their experience. They should be provided with the support they need to reach their full learning potential.
We have made extensive policy and legislative changes over the past 15 years to enable those with additional support needs to thrive as part of their class, their school and their wider community. We must continue to make sure that all of our children and young people feel included and can participate and achieve to their full potential.
An inclusive approach affords all children and young people the opportunity to be a part of a community, boosting their emotional wellbeing and aiding the development of social skills. Scotland's inclusive approach celebrates diversity and allows all children and young people to develop an understanding and recognition of differences, contributing to the development of an increasingly inclusive, empathetic and more just society.
We are committed to mainstreaming as a central pillar of our inclusive approach to education. The Scottish approach to inclusion is already world-leading; our legislative and policy commitments are amongst the most extensive in the world. However, we must improve the experience of inclusion for all pupils if we are to deliver on the promise of such an ambitious framework. Being present in a mainstream school should not be the primary marker of successful inclusion.
This guidance aims to bridge the gap between legislation, policy and day-to-day experience, ensuring that children and young people have equitable access to a quality education which meets their needs and helps them achieve their full potential. I would like to thank the Advisory Group on Additional Support for Learning and the Advisory Group on the Guidance of Presumption of Mainstreaming for their efforts in bringing this piece of work to fruition.
John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills