Children and young people with complex additional support needs: report

Meeting the needs of Scotland's children and young people with complex additional support needs is our response to the Doran Review.

Ministerial Foreword

The Doran Review notes that Scotland can be rightly proud of its inclusive approach to education provision for those children and young people with complex additional support needs. The report highlights good practice, and the commitment and professionalism of those working in the sector. However it also highlights room for improvement and, where the current system is not delivering, clearly articulates the views of those parents, children and young people, and professionals who are frustrated that we don't do better.

Proud therefore, but not complacent. In commissioning this report Ministers recognised that we needed to take stock of the current system, and to identify areas for action that would support the cohesive child centred approach that underpins our overall approach to policy focused on children and young people, including Curriculum for Excellence, Additional Support for Learning and the proposed new legislation for Children and Young People which has been the subject of recent consultation.

I would like to thank Peter Doran, and the numerous people who contributed to the review, for the work that has led to this comprehensive and important report. Many of the issues addressed have been challenging, and the professionalism and commitment of those involved in the review has been critical in bringing us to this point.

The report sets out a compelling vision and recommendations that will drive us forward. Some of this is about doing things better, being more joined up, working more closely together. Some of it is about doing things differently, including the strategic commissioning of services. All of it will be challenging. None of it however changes the underlying principle that we hold of providing the best opportunities for children and young people to achieve their potential no matter what their current circumstances are.

The report emphasises that the services that allow those opportunities to be accessed need to be inclusive, efficient, equitable and effective in meeting need. In addition the presumption of mainstreaming remains, although we are clear, as reflected in the legislation, that for some children and young people their needs will be better met in specialist provision rather than mainstream schools and where this is the case that exception will continue to apply.

We know that strategic commissioning will need to be developed in close partnership with all stakeholders and with a focus on outcomes for children and young people not on bureaucratic process. The Grant Aided Schools sector will require specific support to transition to this new model given that their current operational models have been determined by the funding approach that we have historically applied. We are committed to providing that support, including maintaining their funding across the spending review period, and greatly value the service that they provide and will continue to provide in the future.

Where we have signalled that work is already underway in relation to some of the recommendations we shall ensure that this is carried forward to conclusion. Where new work is required we will set clear timescales for delivery. All recommendations will be reflected in the long term plan for Additional Support for Learning which we are also launching today. Together, these set out the pathway to meeting the clear and challenging ambition that we have for all of Scotland's children and young people: that they are able to get the most from the learning opportunities available to them and realise their potential.

Dr Alasdair Allan
Minister for Learning, Science & Scotland's Languages


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