Publication - Consultation paper

Improving educational outcomes for children and young people from travelling cultures: consultation paper

Published: 21 Feb 2017
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education, Equality and rights

Draft guidance for a consultation on supporting children and young people from travelling communities to engage in school education.

57 page PDF

854.4 kB

57 page PDF

854.4 kB

Improving educational outcomes for children and young people from travelling cultures: consultation paper
Annex A. The policy and legislative context

57 page PDF

854.4 kB

Annex A. The policy and legislative context

Many national policies and frameworks contribute to the Scottish Government's vision for inclusion and support. A number of these are summarised here, alongside relevant legislation and the wider equality context.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination and harassment based on 'protected characteristics' such as race in a range of settings, including school education. It further places a public sector equality duty ( PSED) on public bodies and certain other bodies which carry out public functions. Local and education authorities and managers of independent and grant aided schools are subject to the PSED, as well as the more specific requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 which are designed to assist those subject to the PSED in meeting their general duty.Those subject to the general equality duty must have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunity between different groups
  • Foster good relations between different groups

As part of its work to deliver the PSED, in 2013 the Scottish Government published a set of equality outcomes, covering areas of activity on which it wished to focus over the four years to 2017. These included equality outcomes relating to Gypsy/Travellers and Education. The Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2015 describes the activities that are underway around these outcomes and the progress that has been made to date. Local and education authorities and managers of independent and grant aided schools are also subject to the Scottish Specific Duties, and may also set relevant equality outcomes.

The Race Equality Framework for Scotland sets out the Scottish Government's approach over a fifteen year period from 2016 to 2030 to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality. It sets out how the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their potential will be addressed.

The Scottish Government's Gypsy/Traveller Strategy - The Scottish Government was working with partners to develop an overarching strategy and action plan for Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland. The work of the Gypsy/Traveller Strategy Development Group progressed during 2014-15. It considered a range of issues affecting Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland including education, health and accommodation. A draft action plan was considered in August 2015. The group raised a number of issues, which were important in terms of the developing action plan and required further consideration. Work on the strategy was therefore paused.

  • The problems faced by Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland are longstanding, and the Scottish Government recognises that substantial progress is likely to take time. A strategic programme of work setting out progress and future plans will be published in 2017.

Curriculum for Excellence ( CfE) is transforming all aspects of education in Scotland. It is a flexible and inclusive curriculum with an increased emphasis placed on inter-disciplinary learning, skills development and encouraging personal achievement. CfE aims to foster four capacities in all young people: successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. The curriculum comprises a broad general education up to the end of S3 followed by a senior phase of learning from S4 to S6. Of importance for Traveller pupils is that there is now much greater flexibility in how schools design their Senior Phase Curriculum. There is a range of different approaches being adopted across the country, aimed at meeting the particular needs of learners in different areas.

Parental Involvement - Curriculum for Excellence emphasises the key role played by parents in supporting their children's learning. The Scottish Government works closely with partner organisations to ensure parents' views are recognised and heard and encourages all schools to strengthen their links with parents. The Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 sets out the role of parents in Scottish Education, modernising and strengthening the framework that supports parental involvement in school education. The act identifies three areas of particular importance: Learning at Home; Home/School Partnership; and Parental Representation.

The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 requires that education authorities must provide adequate and efficient school education within their area. [42] The Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 places education authorities under a duty to secure that the education provided by them is directed towards the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential. [43] In this way the Act incorporates in Scots law the right to education under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child ( UNCRC).

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 ("the 2004 Act") introduced the broad and inclusive term 'additional support needs' which refers to any child or young person who, for whatever reason, requires additional support for learning. [44] The Act was amended by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 and will be amended again by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016. This legislation provides the statutory framework for identifying and addressing the additional support needs of children and young people who face a barrier to learning. The 2004 Act places additional support duties on education authorities and requires certain other bodies and organisations to help. Under this legislation, education authorities are required, in providing school education, to identify and then make adequate and efficient provision for the additional support needs of children and young people. The provisions relating to transitions, as set out in the supporting Code of Practice and the Additional Support for Learning (Changes in School Education (Scotland) Regulations 2005, may be of particular relevance to Traveller children and young people and their parents.

The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (the "2016 Act") includes a mix of measures covering education in Scotland and sends a strong signal, nationally as well as locally, of the value placed on ensuring that all children and young people receive the best education they can and achieve their full potential. The 2016 Act has a clear focus on narrowing the attainment gap and enshrines in legislation the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the National Improvement Framework (see below). It also contains provisions which amend the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 to enable children to use the rights available under the 2004 Act themselves, if they are 12 years of age and have the capacity to do so.

The Scottish Attainment Challenge is about achieving equity in educational outcomes. Equity can be achieved by ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. This is set within the context of Curriculum for Excellence and targets improvement in the areas of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.

The National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education outlines the Scottish Government's vision and priorities for children's progress in learning. The Framework will be key in driving work to continually improve Scottish education and close the attainment gap, delivering both excellence and equity. Over time, the Framework will provide a level of robust, consistent and transparent data, to extend understanding of what works to drive improvements across all parts of the education system.

In Better Relationships, Better Learning, Better Behaviour the Scottish Government and Scottish Advisory Group on Behaviour in Schools ( SAGBIS) identified the next steps and priority actions to support local authorities, establishments, practitioners and partners to further improve relationships and behaviour within their learning communities. The policy guidance draws on evidence which shows that investing time and resources into improving relationships and behaviour in whole school and wider environments leads to positive outcomes around inclusion, engagement and achievement in the short term, and community safety and cohesion in the longer term.

Included, Engaged and Involved Part 1: Attendance in Scottish Schools sets out national policy around attendance and absence. In addition to the classification of attendance and absence, this guidance seeks to explore and address wider issues around the promotion and management of good attendance and the prevention and reduction of absence. The guidance recognises that school communities are diverse, and that Traveller children may require authorised absence to travel as part of their tradition, family connections or work commitments.

Included, Engaged and Involved Part 2: A Positive Approach to Preventing and Managing School Exclusions [currently being refreshed - include publication date and link to refreshed guidance once known] has a fundamental role to play in helping realise the Scottish Government's vision for all children and young people by supporting those who are at risk of becoming disengaged or excluded from education. It recognises that children and young people need to be included, engaged and involved in their education in order to achieve equity and attainment for all.

The National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland's Children and Young People [currently being refreshed - include publication date and link to refreshed guidance once known] outlines the Scottish Government approach to all types of bullying - including prejudice-based bullying. The National Approach was refreshed in 2016/17 in recognition of the changing policy and legislative landscape, including the increased emphasis on the responsibility of those working with children and young people to support those with a protected characteristic.

Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) is the national approach to improving outcomes through public services that supports the wellbeing of children and young people and puts their interest at the heart of decision making. GIRFEC takes a holistic approach to the wellbeing of the child or young person and advocates preventative work and early intervention to support them and their families, developing strong universal services with additional services brought in when required. The approach supports children and young people's rights and involves children and young people in decisions which affect them. It recognises that children and young people will have different experiences in their lives, but that every child and young person has the right to expect appropriate support from adults to allow them to grow and develop to reach their full potential.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 [45] supports the Scottish Government's ambition for Scotland to be the best place to grow up. It seeks to improve the way services work together to support children, young people and families and ensure that children's rights are respected across the public sector. For example, part 1 [46] (sections 2 and 3) of the 2014 Act places duties on public authorities, as defined at Schedule 1 [47] to the Act, to report every 3 years on the steps they have taken in that period to secure better or further effect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [48] .

Part 3 of the 2014 Act [49] places a duty on each local authority and the relevant NHS board to jointly prepare a children's services plan for the area of the local authority, covering a 3 year period. These plans should be prepared with involvement of the service providers capable of having a significant effect on the wellbeing of children. Plans should cover services for children generally and for children with specific needs (Traveller children could be considered as children with specific needs) and related services (services that aren't children's services but are capable of having a significant effect on the wellbeing of children).

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW): Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy published in December 2014 sets out the plans to implement the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce to reduce youth unemployment. The first annual progress report on the implementation of the recommendations, published in December 2015, includes a chapter on Equality and developing the talents of all young people.

The Early Years Collaborative ( EYC) is the world's first multi-agency, bottom up quality improvement programme to support the transformation of early years. Launched in October 2012, it involves all 32 Community Planning Partnerships and a wide range of third sector partners. Its focus is on strengthening and building on services using quality improvement methodology, enabling local practitioners to test, measure, implement and spread new and different ways of working to improve outcomes for children and families. The work of the EYC is being joined up with the Raising Attainment for All Programme, which was launched in June 2014 to support consistent improvement in attainment and achievement using improvement methodology. Together they become the Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative. This will deliver quality improvement throughout a child's journey and reinforce the link between children having positive experiences in the early years and educational attainment. This will also align closely with the Maternity and Children Quality Improvement Collaborative where the focus is on maternity, neonatal and paediatric healthcare settings.