Publication - Corporate report

Children and young people with complex additional support needs: report

Published: 13 Nov 2012
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781780459660

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

18 page PDF

263.6 kB

18 page PDF

263.6 kB

Contents
Children and young people with complex additional support needs: report
Context

18 page PDF

263.6 kB

Context

The Doran Review comes at an important time in the implementation of Additional Support for Learning. The Act was amended in 2009 with the new and amended duties beginning in November 2010 [6] .

The new duties included a requirement that Scottish Ministers must report annually on the implementation of the Act. Scottish Ministers produced their first report to Parliament in February 2012 [7] . That report sets out in detail the broad context for learning and additional support for learning.

The report provided comment on the implementation of the Act at that time, using information from the national statistics collection, Education Scotland [8] reports and analyses of inspection evidence. The aim of the report was to provide a broad picture of implementation, including additional qualitative information on how children and young people are supported in schools, which may not be recognised within the statistical collection.

The evidence from the Improving Scottish Education [9] publications was presented as part of this report, and indicated that, in most schools in Scotland, the needs of most children and young people were being well met with some major strengths. The report also identified that improvements were required for some groups of children and young people, particularly those whose additional support needs were 'hidden'. This included looked after children and young people, those with mental health difficulties, young carers and those who need support with transition. Since the publication of the report to Parliament in February 2012 a further 76 schools have been considered by Education Scotland as good, very good or excellent in inspection with 8 of these delivering services in special schools for children and young people with additional support needs.

At the time of the publication of the report to Parliament, Scottish Ministers indicated that they would publish a long-term plan of support for implementation of the Act. This would support continued improvement in the implementation of additional support for learning and build on the strengths identified in provision made by local authorities. The long-term plan is being published alongside this response to the Doran Review.

The long-term plan has been informed by the work of the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning ( AGASL), and by other stakeholder groups, including the Association of Support for Learning Officers ( ASLO). But the long-term plan of support will also include some of the work which is required to be delivered to make the recommendations of the Doran Review a reality. Therefore our response to some recommendations here, also appear in the long-term plan. This indicates the significant contribution which the Doran Review will make to the future implementation of additional support for learning for all children and young people.

Response to recommendations

Recommendation 1

Scottish Government should require all organisations working with children and young people who have complex additional support needs to make public the values which underpin their policies and plans so as to ensure these are reflected in the way in which their staff go about assessing and meeting needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs and their families.

The Scottish Government has partly accepted this recommendation.

The report indicates that the ethos, culture and values of organisations supporting children and young people with additional support needs are key to the way in which those services are delivered for children and young people.

Recognising this, the Scottish Government has partly accepted this recommendation. It is accepted in part not because there is disagreement on the importance of ethos values and culture, but because the recommendation applies to all organisations working with children and young people with complex additional support needs. This could include any organisation, whether their involvement with the child or young person is formal, such as schools, or informal such as youth groups or sports clubs.

We will focus on those organisations providing statutory services to children and young people within the framework of the additional support for learning legislation. The Curriculum for Excellence, Health and Wellbeing, Principles and Practice [10] already makes the importance of ethos, values and culture clear, and describes how the responsibility of all supports this. This is similarly reflected in the Getting it Right for Every Child [11] approach to the provision of services for children and young people. The following actions will be taken to reinforce this.

The statutory code of practice which accompanies the Additional Support for Learning Act will be revised in 2013-14. As part of that revision we will include a requirement that the duty on education authorities to publish policies for the provision of additional support for learning must include a statement of ethos, values and culture.

We will expect public authorities to include a statement on ethos, culture and values under their broad duty to publish equality outcomes and report progress by 30 April 2013

Recommendation 2

Education Scotland, working with the GTCS and relevant training providers in universities, further education colleges, voluntary organisations and local authorities should consider how to lead and develop learning communities of expert professionals at local, regional and national levels to advise, support and contribute to the professional learning of teachers and other school staff working with complex additional support needs. Particular consideration should be given to how GLOW can support this development.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

There is a need for a sustained approach to career-long professional learning that enables practitioners to enhance the core skills developed as part of their initial teacher education, but which is easily accessed and sufficiently broad to supplement their learning. This should also be linked to local sources of advice and information so that the learning is consistent with local policy and practice.

Significant work is already in place through Education Scotland, to provide online learning opportunities, including through GLOW. Most significant are the learning communities of practice developed by Education Scotland which enable practitioners to seek advice, information and resources on a range of issues but also to be able to seek support from others working in similar circumstances.

The Scottish Government will work with Education Scotland and GTCS to further supplement the significant resources available for additional support for learning, and will ensure that recent and new resources are available through a single access point.

In 2012-13 Education Scotland will work with other national agencies such as Dyslexia Scotland, the Association of Support for Learning Officers and the Scottish Guidance Association to develop guidance and advice on meeting the curricular and learning needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs. It will also will work with the SEBN Network to deliver a national conference on Social and Emotional Behavioural Difficulties.

Recommendation 3

In taking forward the advice of the National Partnership Group ( NPG) [12] , Scottish Government should consult with the universities local authorities and accredited providers of professional development on how best to provide qualifications and courses for teachers of children and young people across the range of complex additional support needs.

The Scottish Government has partly accepted this recommendation.

The National Partnership Group's report to the Cabinet Secretary on the implementation of Teaching Scotland's Future proposes the future framework for implementation of the Teaching Scotland's Future recommendations and was published in early November 2012.

We will work within this framework to ensure a broad range of professional learning opportunities for teachers across the range of additional support needs including complex additional support needs. This will be linked to the action undertaken to deliver recommendation 2.

Recommendation 4

Within the GIRFEC framework which provides the approach to working with all children and young people further consideration should be given to what specific supports are required for those working with children and young people with complex additional support needs.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

Getting it Right for Every Child and the proposed Children and Young People Bill will continue to provide the framework for children's services, now and in the future. In common with other legislative frameworks which support the provision of services to children and young people, there is a need to explain clearly how all the elements fit together so that those providing services for children and young people understand how the system works.

The Getting it Right for Every Child approach provides the framework for services for all children and young people. The Children and Young People Bill will place key components of the approach onto a statutory basis. The code of practice for additional support for learning, which provides statutory guidance on delivering additional support for learning, will be revised to take account of the Bill, ensuring that guidance is clear. This revision is scheduled for 2013-2014 to allow for the passage of the Bill through the Scottish Parliament.

Recommendation 5

Scottish Government should consider with the GTCS the establishment of a register of teachers with qualifications in meeting complex additional support needs in order to assist national workforce planning and ensure sufficient numbers of specialist staff.

The Scottish Government has partly accepted this recommendation.

We will work with the General Teaching Council Scotland ( GTCS) [13] and other partners to find a pragmatic solution to the issue of knowledge of the skills and qualifications of teachers. Our approach will be informed and aligned to the work of the National Partnership Group [14] in the medium term and link with the recently announced GTCS review of the Guidelines for Courses of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland.

The GTCS is in the process of developing its Professional Update system which will require teachers to provide an annual update of their personal details. This could involve registering any additional qualifications gained but consideration would also need to be given to Data protection issues if such information was to be shared.

Recommendation 6

Local authorities should ensure that sufficient numbers of suitably qualified learning support staff continue to be available to support children and young people with complex additional support needs in their school placements.

It is for local authorities to plan their resources according to local circumstances and priorities, including their responsibilities under the Additional Support for Learning Act. Therefore this recommendation should be considered by local authorities as part of those responsibilities. The Scottish Government will continue to engage with local authorities on this issue.

Recommendation 7

The Scottish Government should consider ways of ensuring that sufficient funding is provided to universities and other agencies in order to maintain their research and development capacities in the education and development of children and young people with complex additional support needs

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The value of research and development is clearly recognised both to inform policy and practice and to meet Scottish Minister's duties to report on implementation and we would look to continue this breadth of approach. The Scottish Government draws evidence from a range of sources including universities, and from other establishments, and will continue to do so.

We will take the opportunity offered by the strategic commissioning of services, to consider the funding of research and development in this area.

Recommendation 8

Scottish Government through ENQUIRE should produce a comprehensive map of provision throughout Scotland for children and young people with complex additional support needs.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

Enquire [15] is the national advice and information service for additional support for learning and is funded by the Scottish Government. They have a wealth of information on the services, support services and advice centres available throughout Scotland. The Scottish Government will work with Enquire to develop an online map of comprehensive information on specialist services that support children and young people with additional support needs and their families, improving the knowledge of what is available in all areas. This should be completed by end of 2014.

Recommendation 9

The Scottish Government and Education Scotland, working with local authorities, relevant health board staff and universities, as appropriate, should continue to build on the developments in guidance and advice on meeting the curricular and learning needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs within the framework of Curriculum for Excellence and GIRFEC. In particular, they should provide more specific guidance and support to help those contributing to the learning of children and young people at the earliest stages of cognitive and all round development.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

There has been significant work by local authorities and schools on meeting the curricular and learning needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs, and an increasing number of special schools have been recognised as having excellent practice in this area.

Education Scotland will develop and publish guidance on delivering breadth and depth of learning across the Early Level for children and young people with complex additional support needs. This will include case studies and practice examples to support practitioner learning.

In 2012-13 Education Scotland will work with other national agencies such as Dyslexia Scotland, the Association of Support for Learning Officers and the Scottish Guidance Association to develop guidance and advice on meeting the curricular and learning needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs. It will also will work with the SEBN Network to deliver a national conference on Social and Emotional Behavioural Difficulties.

These developments will be highlighted in the online resources and communities of practice outlined in relation to recommendation 2.

Recommendation 10

All local authorities in partnership with health boards, university based and voluntary organisations should review their approaches to the provision of aids to mobility and communication, including ICT so as to ensure that what is provided is fit for purpose and that staff and parents, as well as the child or young person have the necessary skills to utilise these resources.

This recommendation is aimed at local authorities, and directly reflects their responsibilities, with partners, to ensure that children and young people receive the support that they need, including auxiliary aids and services.

There is recognition that this is consistent with the recently introduced duties on public bodies, including education authorities and schools, to prevent discrimination against pupils with disabilities through the provision of reasonable adjustments [16] including Auxiliary Aids and Services. In light of this new duty, which is in addition to the provisions of the Additional Support for Learning Act, education authorities and their partners will wish to consider their policies and practices.

Recent guidance, A Right to Speak [17] , provides guidance to those who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication methods and those who provide these services. Together, these offer those providing services an opportunity to consider any improvements that could be made to service delivery.

Recommendation 11

The Scottish Government should provide leadership and where appropriate direction to local authorities and health boards and consider the adequacy of existing legislation to ensure that the transition from children's to adult services for young people with complex additional support needs is properly coordinated, managed and delivered.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

We recognise the need to support improved practice in implementing transition duties. Stakeholders consistently express concern in relation to practice in transitions across children and young people's learning experiences, but particularly in relation to post-school transition. The 2012 Report to Parliament on Additional Support for Learning highlighted the issues in relation to transitional arrangements. Transitions will be the theme of the 2014 report to Parliament.

Transitional arrangements were also highlighted by the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning as an area where practice could be improved. A subgroup of the Advisory Group will consider this issue in 2013 and make recommendations. This will include consideration of whether the current legislative framework is appropriate and will therefore inform the actions to deliver this recommendation.

Recommendation 12

The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate should work with local authorities and other relevant quality assurance agencies to develop a performance management framework to quality assure the implementation of GIRFEC and Additional Support Legislation. This should include the introduction of meaningful performance data complemented by relevant quality indicators specifically related to children and young people with complex additional support needs.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning will convene a sub group to consider the collection of data and measurement of outcomes for children and young people with additional support needs. The subgroup will make recommendations on the information that should be collected to support implementation of the legislation.

Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate, working in partnership with appropriate agencies, will provide assurance to parents and families about the quality of provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs. They will regularly review their inspection and reporting systems and will build capacity through supporting continuous improvement . This will provide the Scottish Government and others with robust evidence based policy advice on how well children's needs are met and outcomes improved.

The Care Inspectorate, working alongside our scrutiny partners is taking the lead in developing Joint Inspections of services for children. The Inspectorate is now undertaking pilot joint inspections. The joint inspections will take a multi agency and strategic approach and will focus on the effectiveness of integrated working to improve outcomes for all children as well as the most vulnerable. This approach will cover how well GIRFEC is being applied in local areas as well as reviewing how GIRFEC supports improved outcomes for children and young people. Inspections of regulated services will inform the joint inspection, including services for children with disabilities and those using respite services. The joint inspection will comment on how well community planning partnerships are delivering services for children with disabilities within the local authority area. Scrutiny bodies are working together to minimise any duplication and ensure the appropriate synergies with other pieces of work, for example scrutiny of Community Planning Partnerships and validated self-evaluation in education and children's services.

More work is needed across the relevant scrutiny bodies on looking at all the performance data to ensure it is meaningful, appropriate and relevant. This work will help inform the revision of the National Care Standards.

Recommendation 13

In taking forward the development of the single plan as proposed in the Children and Young People Bill future legislation should specify the responsibility and accountability of all agencies to implement the actions and resources needed to fulfil that plan.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The provisions of the Children and Young People Bill and the associated practice guidance will set out roles and responsibilities for partners delivering services to children and young people. As part of the guidance there is a need to ensure that the relationship between the single Child's Plan and the co-ordinated support plan ( CSP) is clear and understood by practitioners.

In addition, the code of practice for additional support for learning will provide guidance on the relationship between the frameworks and the complementary roles of CSP co-ordinator and Lead Professional and the relationship between the statutory plans that children and young people with complex or multiple additional support needs may have.

Recommendation 14

The Scottish Government should take action to address the concern that all authorities are held to account for implementing national policies and legislation and thereby ensure that all parents, carers and children and young people can expect similar responses to meeting their needs regardless of where they live in the country.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

Stakeholders have indicated concern that due to local policies and strategies, services for children and young people with additional support needs can vary across authority areas. This can cause challenges in the circumstances where a child or young person moves between authority areas.

The code of practice [18] provides statutory guidance to authorities in delivering services to children and young people with additional support needs. This guidance will be revised to ensure that it is sufficient and effective to support practitioners to deliver services locally, within the framework of additional support for learning.

The code of practice for additional support for learning, which provides statutory guidance on delivering additional support for learning, is scheduled for revision in 2013-2014. We will ensure the revised code is sufficient and effective to support practitioners to deliver services locally, within the framework of additional support for learning

Education Scotland and their partners will continue to monitor the delivery of services for children and young people through inspection.

Recommendation 15

The Scottish Government working with local authority services, the health boards and the voluntary sector should provide detailed guidance and support for the application of the GIRFEC approach and specifically the practice model to meeting the changing needs of all children and young people and specifically those with complex additional support needs from the earliest stages to transition to adult life.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

There are two principal actions which will deliver this recommendation and these are detailed under the response to recommendation 13. These are the practice guidance that will be associated with the Children and Young People's Bill, and the revision of the code of practice for additional support for learning. In addition the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning will continue to consider the need for any additional Guidance as part of their ongoing work programme.

Recommendation 16

In taking forward workforce development specific attention should be paid to improving the specialist communication skills required by those working with children and young people with complex additional support needs and their families and in relating to each other.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

Recent research Communication Matters [19] made a series of recommendations to improve communication with families in relation to additional support for learning. The publication sets out a series of principles of good communication and involving children and young people with additional support needs about their education.

The code of practice currently provides advice to practitioners on communicating with families and in particular in holding effective meetings. This advice will be considered as part of the revision of the code of practice by a subgroup of the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning.

The long-term plan of support for implementation proposes that resources to support practitioners making provision for additional support for learning are developed as part of an online package of support. It is proposed that the recommendations to support improved communication will be provided as part of this resource.

Recommendation 17

The Scottish Government should lead COSLA and health boards in the development of a strategic planning and commissioning process to deliver, within a 5 year period, the national services and provision required to ensure that the complex additional support needs of children and young people across Scotland can be met.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

Building on existing good practice the Scottish Government, working with COSLA, will provide leadership in supporting local authorities, health boards, the third sector and other independent providers through a strategic planning and commissioning process to improve services for children and young people with complex additional support needs. This will deliver more efficient use of public funds and create a system which responds more effectively to the individual needs of children and young people.

The Scottish Government will also build on the work of the Review to create a clear and transparent strategic commissioning process for the allocation of national funding. We will work with the sector, parents and pupils to establish how national funding can best enhance the capacity of the system to support all children and young people with complex additional support needs achieve their full potential.

Recommendation 18

The Scottish Government in conjunction with health boards and COSLA should ensure there is an effective system for the national collection of data in relation to children and young people with complex additional support needs which will inform the planning and commissioning of national services and provision.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The importance of reliable data and information on additional support for learning is recognised. As noted in the response to recommendation 12, the Advisory Group for Additional Support for Learning will convene a sub group to consider the collection of data and measurement of outcomes for children and young people with additional support needs. The subgroup will make recommendations on the information that should be collected to support implementation of the legislation. It is likely however that in relation to planning and commissioning there will be a requirement for a broader and more detailed set of data. This will be taken forward as part of the development of the planning and commissioning process.

Recommendation 19

The Scottish Government should provide funding to nationally commissioned services to meet the complex additional support needs of children and young people and ensure that the level of funding is not less than currently provided across the grant aided special schools.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The Scottish Government is currently committed to investing in any new strategically planned and commissioned national services a level of funding equivalent to that currently invested in the Grant Aided Special School. However the timeline of five years is beyond the current parliamentary term. Therefore, this commitment would be subject to consideration by any future administration and to the appropriate parliamentary scrutiny and approvals process.

Recommendation 20

The Scottish Government should review the overall level of and distribution of funding it provides to non local authority services working directly with and supporting children and young people with complex additional support needs and their parents and carers to ensure that needs are 'identified, prioritized and met'.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The Scottish Government funds a range of organisations beyond the Grant Aided Special Schools who either directly or indirectly support learning provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs. These organisations include the Scottish Sensory Centre, CALL Scotland and Enquire. It is our intention that they should be considered within the context of recommendation 17. We will provide them with support over the next five years to enable them to participate in a new clear and transparent strategic commissioning process for the allocation of national funding from 2018/19.

Recommendation 21

The Scottish Government should ensure that the Grant Aided Special Schools have the necessary assistance to enable them to develop their business models and prepare for the development of a national planning and commissioning process. As a starting point it is further recommended that revenue grant to the schools is renewed on a three yearly basis.

The Scottish Government has accepted this recommendation.

The Scottish Government accepts that the Grand Aided Special Schools current business models have developed to some extent as a result of the funding arrangements from which they currently benefit. Consequently we propose to provide specific support, including maintaining their funding across the spending review period, to support their transition to the new strategic commissioning model. Officials will meet with each school to discuss what support they feel they may benefit from over this period.


Contact