Supporting children's learning: code of practice (revised 2010)

Statutory Guidance relating to the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 as amended.

Annex A Links to other legislation, policies and guidance

The Act should be read alongside other legislation and policy supporting children and young people in Scotland. Some of the main aspects of these are set out below.


Equality issues

Equality for all underpins the Act. It allows schools, local authorities and other agencies to address additional support needs which may arise as a result of inequality and discrimination. A number of pieces of legislation outlaw discrimination on grounds of disability, sex, race, sexual orientation and religion and belief. *

Article 14

The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates many of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights into Scots law. It supports the requirement for local authorities and other bodies not to discriminate on grounds such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status in securing the enjoyment of any of the rights set out in the ECHR. The right to education is set out in Article 2 of the First Protocol to the Convention.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 73 , as amended, outlaws discrimination against disabled people and requires local authorities and schools not to treat disabled pupils less favourably and to make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting them at a substantial disadvantage.

The disability equality duty, introduced through the above Act places a general duty on public bodies, including education authorities in respect of schools they manage. The The Disability Discrimination (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 requires that education authorities and Managers of grant-aided schools promote equality of opportunity for disabled people and publish a Disability Equality Scheme every 3 years. Authorities and the managers of grant-aided schools must also make arrangements for each school under its management to: assess the impact of its policies and practices on equality for disabled pupils; gather information on the opportunities available to, and on the achievements of disabled pupils.

The Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils' Educational Records) (Scotland) Act 2002 places a duty on education authorities, managers of grant-aided schools and the owners of independent schools to prepare a strategy to increase, over time, the physical accessibility of the school environment and the accessibility of the curriculum for pupils with disabilities and prospective pupils with disabilities. The strategy must also provide for the improvement of communication with pupils with disabilities, especially in relation to the provision of school information.

The race equality duty, introduced through the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, places a general duty on public bodies, including education authorities in respect of schools they manage, to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality and good race relations. Education authorities must publish a race equality scheme setting out their race equality policy and the arrangements for schools to monitor and assess the impact of their policies on pupils, staff and parents from different racial groups, including in relation to attainment.

The gender equality duty, introduced through the Equality Act 2006 , places a general duty on public bodies, including education authorities in respect of schools they manage, to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment, and promote equality of opportunity between men and women. Education authorities must publish a gender equality scheme and make arrangements for schools to monitor and assess the impact of their policies on male and female pupils, staff and parents, including in relation to attainment.

The Equality Act 2006 74 also makes it unlawful to discriminate ongrounds of religion or belief (including lack of religion or belief) when goods, facilities and services are being provided. These provisions extend to the delivery of education and other services by schools.

The Equality Act 2010 , which received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010, aims to harmonise discrimination law and to strengthen the law to support progress on equality. It consolidates and harmonises existing equality legislation. In Scotland, it will transfer jurisdiction in all cases of disability discrimination affecting school pupils from the Sheriff Court to the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland ( ASNTS). The Tribunal will hear disability discrimination cases on the provision of education and associated services in all Scottish schools as well as cases relating to admissions and exclusions.


The The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 No. 1263 75 make discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation unlawful in a number of areas including education in schools. Schools therefore need to make sure that gay or lesbian pupils, or the children on gay or lesbian parents do not receive different and less favourable treatment from that given to other pupils.

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 establishes the responsibilities of service providers and parents in matters affecting children's care and welfare. Local authorities must provide services designed to minimise the impact of disabilities on children and to allow them to lead lives which are fulfilling. Children's views must be sought and taken account of in key decisions that affect them.

School education

Under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 education authorities must provide adequate and efficient school education for children of school age within their area. The Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 places education authorities under a duty to secure that the education provided is directed towards the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential.

s14(1)(b) and s40 2000 Act

Education authorities should provide education to school age pupils in a mainstream setting unless certain exceptions apply. Education authorities must make special arrangements for pupils who are unable, or where it would be unreasonable to expect them, to attend school through prolonged ill-health.

s2(2) 2000 Act

Education legislation gives certain rights to parents and young people rather than to children in their own right. However, the 2000 Act recognises that children should have the right to express views on issues that affect them. Chapter 6 of the code describes where children's views should be taken into account under the new Act.

s2 Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991

The Act also sits alongside legislation which recognises that children with legal capacity are able to make some decisions on their own behalf. For example, a child over 12 may consent to any medical procedure or treatment and instruct a solicitor in relation to civil matters so long as he or she is considered capable of understanding the nature and possible consequences.

Young people (young persons in legislation) have similar rights to parents regarding school education. They may also express their views on, and take decisions about, their school education.

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

The law provides for decisions to be made on behalf of adults who lack legal capacity to do so themselves because of mental disorder or inability to communicate. Adults are defined as being over 16 years of age. The decisions concerned may be about the adult's property or financial affairs, or about their personal welfare, including medical treatment. Professionals carrying out functions under the Additional Support for Learning Act should have due regard to the provisions of the Adults with Incapacity Act.

s15 Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007 places education authorities under a duty to ensure that all schools are health promoting. A school is health promoting if it provides activities and an environment and facilities which promote the physical, social, mental and emotional health and wellbeing of pupils. Guidance on the provisions of the Act is available at Nutritional guidelines to support schools in meeting nutritional requirements are available from

s30 1980

Parents, under the 1980 Act, must ensure that their children of school age receive adequate education suitable for the age ability and aptitude of their child, either by sending their child to a school managed by the education authority, or by other means, for example an independent school or home education.

Children (Scotland) Act 1995

Parents must, where it is the interests of the child and is practicable, safeguard and promote their child's health, development and welfare. This also applies to anyone over 16 who has care or control of a child under the age of 16. In addition, parents can provide their children who are under 18 years of age, with appropriate direction and guidance. They should maintain personal relations and direct contact with their son or daughter on a regular basis, if they do not live with their child. Parents can also act as their child's legal representative. Where a person takes a major decision in fulfilling a parental responsibility or right under the 1995 Act they must have regard to the views of the child, taking account of the child's age and maturity and whether the child wishes to express a view.

The Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 places a duty on Scottish Ministers to promote parents' involvement in their child's education. Because parents have such a vital role to play in their children's education, the Act aims to make it easier for parents to become involved in their own child's education and in their child's school more generally. To help achieve these aims, all parents will automatically be members of the parent's forum at their child's school and will be entitled to have a say in what happens at the school. This Act made changes to the arrangements for parental representation in all schools. Since August 2007 Parent Councils have been the representative body for parents. The Act also places a duty on education authorities to promote the involvement of parents in school education. This includes authorities giving advice and information to parents about their own child in response to reasonable requests.

Other legislation

The National Health Service Reform (Scotland) Act 2004 required NHS Boards to submit schemes of establishment for Community Health Partnerships to Scottish Ministers for approval by December 2004. Schemes had to comply with The Community Health Partnerships (Scotland) Regulations 2004( 76 ) and the Statutory Guidance issued in October 2004.

The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 introduced safeguards to prevent unsuitable people from working with children. The Act covers a range of childcare positions defined in the 2003 Act (as amended), not just those involved in directly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children. It includes those whose normal duties include work in a school; a further education institution; a hostel used mainly by pupils attending a school or further education institution; or in hospitals which are mainly for children.

Professionals carrying out functions under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 should have due regard to the provisions within education legislation, as there may be instances where there is some cross over between them.

Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

The Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 introduced and built upon a number of measures designed to tackle antisocial behaviour. It defined what antisocial behaviour is for the purposes of that Act; made provisions with regard to ASBOs; provided powers to take action on premises where there is significant and persistent disorder or serious nuisance to the local community; and also introduced, amongst other things, on the spot fines for a range of low level antisocial behaviour, and powers to seize vehicles being driven antisocially.

The Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 requires that adequate and efficient provision of further and higher education is made in Scotland. Due regard should be given to the requirements of those over school age who have a learning difficulty or disability which may affect their education. In preparing young people for leaving school, teachers should be aware of legislation covering further and higher education. Under the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 , the educational and related needs of students and prospective students of further education colleges and higher education institutions must be regarded.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC) applies to everyone under 18 . It recognises that all children and young people have rights. There are 42 articles that describe specific rights, 4 of which are described as the underpinning principles: non-discrimination (article 2); commitment to the best interests of the child (article 3); the right to life, survival and development (article 6); and respect for the views of the child (article 12). The UNCRC is reflected in legislation relating to children and young people e.g. the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Scottish Government has made clear its ongoing commitment to the UNCRC and to promoting and supporting the rights of all children in Scotland as a key strand of our activity to improve outcomes for all. On 1 September 2009 the Scottish Government published its response to the 2008 recommendations from UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. This publication, 'Do the Right Thing', set out specific actions the Scottish Government will take in 21 priority areas relating to children's rights.

The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 provides the legislative framework for adoption and permanence for children in Scotland who can no longer live with their natural parents. The Act restates the duty of a Local Authority to provide an adoption service for placing children with adopters and assessing adopters and widens the range of people who are able to adopt. The Act introduces a court order for accommodating children who cannot live with their natural parents (a "permanence order") and also improves access to a broader range of support services for people affected by adoption, including members of adoptive and original families.


The Scottish Government has a wide range of policies which supports the development and well-being of Scotland's children and young people. The broad definition of additional support needs means that application of the Act's provisions requires effective interaction across policies in a number of areas. The following paragraphs describe some of these policy areas.


The Act complements Scottish Ministers' high expectations and aspirations for all of Scotland's children and young people. These expectations and aspirations apply across agency, service and professional boundaries. Ministers' aspiration for all children and young people in Scotland is that they should be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society and at work. Ministers believe that children and young people should be:

Healthy … experiencing the highest standards of physical and mental health, and supported to make healthy safe choices

Achieving … receiving support and guidance in their learning - boosting their skills, confidence and self-esteem

Nurtured … having a nurturing and stimulating place to live and grow

Active … offered opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities - helping them to build a fulfilling and happy future

Respected … to be given a voice and involved in the decisions that affect their well-being

Responsible … taking an active role within their schools and communities

Included ... receiving help and guidance to overcome social, educational, physical and economic inequalities; accepted as full members of the communities in which they live and learn

And above all, to be safe … protected from abuse, neglect or harm.

Getting it right for every child

The Getting it right for every child programme builds from universal health and education services to achieve these outcomes for children. It drives developments to change the way adults think and act to help all children and young people grow, develop and reach their full potential. It requires a positive shift in culture, systems and practice across services for children, young people and adults . It is a fundamental way of working that builds on research and practice evidence to help practitioners focus on what makes a positive difference for children and young people and act to deliver these improvements. Getting it right for every child threads through existing policy, practice, strategy and legislation affecting children, young people and families. The Getting it right for every child approach with its emphasis on meeting the needs of the child is entirely congruent with the additional support needs agenda.

The Getting it right for every child approach is particularly helpful when professionals from more than one agency need to work together to provide effective support. That multi-agency practice in the field needs to be matched by effective strategic planning mechanisms. The Single Outcome Agreements agreed between Community Planning Partnerships, consisting of local authorities and their partner agencies, and the Scottish Government under the Concordat with local government form an effective mechanism for doing so at the strategic level and will be underpinned by more detailed joint operational plans such the integrated Children's Services Plans provided for in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.


The Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000 requires that Scottish Ministers should set national priorities in education. Five National Priorities in Education underpin the Scottish Government's education policies. These are:

Achievement and Attainment: To raise standards of educational attainment for all in schools, especially in the core skills of literacy and numeracy, and to achieve better levels in national measures of achievement including examination results.

Framework for Learning: To support and develop the skills of teachers, the self discipline of pupils and to enhance school environments so that they are conducive to teaching and learning

Inclusion and Equality: To promote equality and help every pupil benefit from education, with particular regard paid to pupils with disabilities and special educational needs, and to Gaelic and other lesser used languages.

Values and Citizenship: To work with parents to teach pupils respect for self and one another and their interdependence with other members of their neighbourhood and society, and to teach them the duties and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society

Learning for Life: To equip pupils with the foundation skills, attitudes and expectations necessary to prosper in a changing society, and to encourage creativity and ambition.

All five priorities are relevant to ensuring that children and young people with additional support needs receive the help they require. The priorities are delivered in a range of educational settings, but the overarching context is one of schools developing their capacity to provide for the full range of children and young people within education.

The government's reform programme of education, Curriculum for Excellence encompasses the five national priorities for education in that it provides a better quality of teaching and learning, increased attainment and achievement for all children and young people in Scotland with a focus on literacy and numeracy and health and wellbeing throughout. This curriculum framework will enable all young people in Scotland to gain the knowledge and skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work which will help them become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. Curriculum for Excellence is intended to be for all learners. It should lead to improved quality of learning and teaching and increased attainment and achievement for all children and young people including those in need of more choices and more chances.

The Scottish Government places a high priority on getting it right in the early years. The Early Years Framework was published in December 2008, with a focus on maximising the opportunities for all our children to get the best start in life, no matter what their background or circumstances. The Framework is built on the principles of early intervention - a shift from intervening only when a crisis happens to prevention and early intervention. The Framework sets out a list of priorities for action that need to be taken forward in partnership over the next 10 years, some short term, some medium term and some long term. The Framework was developed through partnership and can only be effectively delivered through partnership. Scottish Government and COSLA will continue to work together with other partners to implement and deliver the framework.

The Scottish Government believes that good relationships and positive behaviour across whole school communities are fundamental to the successful delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. The government is committed to supporting schools create and maintain peaceful and positive learning environments, working with local authorities to introduce the most effective approaches to promoting positive behaviour. There is a wide range of approaches from universal whole school approaches to more targeted or additional approaches through school and multiagency assessment, planning and provision for children and young people with behavioural needs. Provision includes that beyond the classroom to address needs and keep children and young people included, engaged, and involved in their education.

The Scottish Government also has a wide range of policies across health, social work and other agencies which support children and young people who have additional support needs.

Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve transformational change within the Scottish education system by providing a coherent more flexible and enriched curriculum which will provide more choices and more chances for those young people who need them. The design of Curriculum for Excellence enables schools and their partners to build a flexible system that offers personalisation and choice to meet the needs of all children and young people, wherever their learning is taking place. It also provides clear and supported pathways for young people to make successful transitions and to continue learning beyond compulsory schooling.

The new qualifications framework will facilitate a smooth progression for learners at different rates and in different ways. The recognition of wider achievements in addition to formal qualifications will also allow learners at all levels to gain recognition for a much wider variety of skills and abilities.

A robust system of assessment that reflects the values, purposes and principles of Curriculum for Excellence is needed to provide good quality information about learning and teaching. Later this year, we will publish a statement setting out the key elements of the proposals to support assessment in Curriculum for Excellence. In addition to this, we will provide more detailed guidance through the publication of a Framework for Assessment, which will outline our plans in greater detail and give detailed advice for educational planners, managers and practitioners.

Developments in assessment will also be supported by the new National Assessment Resource, an online system to support assessment for ages 3 through to 18. The first stage of the development of this resource is expected to be completed in the summer of 2010.

Updates on Assessment will be made available through the Curriculum for Excellence website at:


There are 40 Community Health Partnerships across Scotland. These partnerships lead the planning and delivery of person-centred and integrated community based services. They are a focus for providing better primary and specialist health services for adults and children locally and joint services with Local Authorities. They also have a significant role in improving health and reducing health inequalities set within the context of community planning.

The Scottish Government published the Better Health. Better Care: Action Plan in 2007. Community Health Partnerships are at the heart of this agenda, shifting the balance of care by improving access, managing demand, reducing unnecessary referrals and providing better community care services.

The Scottish Executive 2003 review of speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy services for children called on service providers to develop new methods of working in non-traditional and inclusive settings, such as mainstream schools and nurseries and other community settings. Other recommendations called on local authorities and NHS Scotland to develop integrated approaches to the provision of therapy and other related interventions for children.

The Scottish Government Allied Health Professions and Education Working in Partnership National Guidelines, which are scheduled to be published in June 2010, will further promote and support partnership working primarily between speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy these being the professions most closely involved in supporting children and young people within school, and education staff at all levels. The guidelines, based on extensive engagement with stakeholders, document evidence-based good practice and include exemplars, tools, continuous professional development resources and the service user's perspective. The guidance intends to improve understanding about the role and working practices of AHPs and how AHPs contribute to supporting education of children and young people, including those with additional support needs. For up-to-date information see:

Health for All Children (Hall 4) guidance was issued to NHS Boards in 2005 following the review of child health screening, surveillance and health promotion activity by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The guidance sets out the core programme of screening, surveillance and health promotion contacts which every child should receive and recommends tiered levels of support according to assessed need.

The Scottish Government's Framework for Nursing in Schools sets out the direction for school nursing in Scotland. The framework sets out in clear terms the nursing service that should be delivered to children and young people in Scottish schools. The concept of the Health Promoting School underpins the entire framework. There is a change in focus, away from surveillance and towards proactive assessment of the health needs of each school. While there are specific sections in the framework on health promotion, highlighting key priority areas, the starting point is that the school nursing service focuses primarily on promoting health and well being as part of an integrated cross school approach, with a focus on the needs of the child as an individual is central to the new approach.

The Scottish Government has also commenced a two year project to increase healthcare capacity in schools starting in communities that have the highest number of vulnerable children & young people. The delivery of care will be developed in an integrated way using a partnership approach between partners involved. The model will harness existing skills whilst at the same time develop new roles. This new model will not be more of the same but it is an opportunity to redesign services that will provide effective healthcare to children young people and their families particularly at key transition stages. The project will run until March 2011 and will be independently evaluated.

The Mental Health of Children and Young People: A Framework for Promotion, Prevention and Care sets out a range of activities and approaches to support children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. The framework was developed to support integrated approaches to children and young people's mental health, across mental health promotion, prevention of mental illness, and care and treatment for those with mental health problems. It highlights mental health promotion and stresses the importance of considering the child's global environment, recognising elements which support mental health and wellbeing as well as those factors which may increase the risk of mental health problems, including the potential impact of a parent's ill health on their child.

The framework promotes a "mainstream" approach to mental health and wellbeing, which equips a range of health and other children's services professionals with the basic skills to be able to support parents in developing a basic understanding of risk and protective factors that may affect their child's mental health and wellbeing. To support this, NHS Education for Scotland has published a mental health competency framework for all those involved in supporting children, young people and their families. This framework is about to be revised by NES in conjunction with the Scottish Government Mental Health and Workforce Divisions and Skills for Health. Education policy and practice already has a strong focus on promoting and supporting emotional wellbeing, and the Health Promoting Schools concept broadens this focus beyond the curriculum to a "whole school approach".

Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland, the recently published policy and action plan for mental health improvement, also includes a focus on the mental health of infants, children and young people.

The mental health and wellbeing of children is part of all aspects of health care and is also an underpinning part of The Early Years Framework, Getting It Right for Every Child, The Curriculum for Excellence and Health for all Children ( HALL 4).

Children and families

The Scottish Government continues to work closely with the 30 Child Protection Committees set up throughout the country to improve the protections offered to children and young people in our communities. These Child Protection Committees ( CPCs) developed into their current structure following the child protection reform programme completed in 2006, are responsible for the delivery of effective child protection measures in their area.

Work continues to be undertaken by the Scottish Government and its partners to introduce a common overall approach to the most significant operational aspects of protecting children from harm and to embed best practice from the child protection practitioner community into day to day practice across the country. Progress is also being made in the implementation of the "Getting it Right for Every Child" agenda for children's services, as it applies to children who are at risk of significant harm.

Following careful consideration of responses to the consultation Strengthening for the Future on the reform of the Children's Hearings system which finished in October 2008, the Scottish Government are bringing forward proposals to reinforce and modernise the Children's Hearings system. The Draft Children's Hearings (Scotland) Bill was published on 26 June 2009. The key proposals contained in the Draft Bill are:-

  • The creation of a new national body, Children's Hearings Scotland, to drive up standards across Scotland.
  • Changes in functions and practice to improve support for both professionals and panel members, leading in turn to improving better outcomes for children and young people.
  • Legal and procedural changes to increase efficiency and ensure that children's rights continue to be properly upheld.

Under these proposals, the Children's Hearings Scotland will be responsible for all functions associated with the Children's Panel, including recruitment, selection and training of panel members. The Scottish Children's Reporter Administration will deliver the Children's Reporters service. People will continue to be recruited, selected, trained and sit on hearings on a local basis.

The Scottish Government's aim is that there should be no difference between the outcomes for children and young people who have been Looked After and their peers who have not, particularly in relation to educational achievement. Historically, this has been far from the case. Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better (Scottish Executive 2007) sets out a framework for action, most of which was completed during 2008. The web site: contains all the relevant publications as well as providing opportunities for practitioners and others to participate in online discussions. The key publications are:

  • These Are Our Bairns - guidance for community planning partnerships on how to be a good corporate parent which sets out the responsibilities of all members of the extended corporate family and how they can measure their success.
  • The We Can and Must Do Better Training Materials - a comprehensive revision of the Learning With Care materials comprising an award-winning interactive DVD rom.
  • The national evaluation of educational outcomes of Looked After children pilots, with an accompanying practical guide for practitioners.
  • Core Tasks for Designated Managers in Educational and Residential Establishments which up-dates the previous Learning With Care provisions.
  • The Resource Pack for Care Leavers - a DVD for local authorities to customise to provide accessible advice to young people leaving care.

HMIE has published a self evaluation toolkit - How Good is Our Corporate Parenting - which will support councils and other providers in assessing the services they provide to Looked After children and young people and care leavers.

The 2009 revisions to the Additional Support for Learning Act include a requirement for all Looked After children and young people to be considered to have additional support needs and to require a co-ordinated support plan unless the education authority for the area to which they belong determine that they do not..

In addition, the Looked After Children Regulations are currently being up-dated, and Getting It Right For Every Child in Kinship and Foster Care, the Securing Our Future Initiative and the National Residential Child Care Initiative are focused on the needs of particular groups of children and young people within the care system.

The Youth Justice framework, Preventing Offending by Young People - A Framework For Action was launched in June 2008. The framework is jointly owned by Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, as key delivery agencies. The Framework is broad in its scope, spanning prevention, diversion, intervention and risk management with reference to the individual, the family and the wider community. The Framework reaches from pre-birth and early years through to the transition to adult service.

The new antisocial behaviour framework Promoting Positive Outcomes: Working Together to Prevent Antisocial Behaviour in Scotland was published in March 2009. This Framework provides the strategic direction nationally and locally for tackling antisocial behaviour and provides a platform for future work. It aims to promote positive outcomes through more prevention, better partnership working, enhanced community engagement and improved communication. The review aims to build upon past successes and will seek to improve the 2004 Act rather than repeal it. An implementation plan for the framework will be published later this year.

Tackling parental substance misuse and its effects on children is a key priority for the Scottish Government. Chapter 5 of the National Drugs Strategy - The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland's Drug Problem - includes a range of measures aimed at protecting children affected by parental substance misuse ( CAPSM).

The CAPSM actions centre on prevention & early intervention, with a strong focus on strengthening support for families & management of immediate risk which is consistent with the wider Getting it right for every child ( GIRFEC) approach. GIRFEC sets out the principles and values for professionals dealing with children & includes the child's safety - putting the child at the centre - and working in partnership with families.

A CAPSM Project Board has been established to support the delivery of the CAPSM priority actions which were identified in Chapter 5 of the Road to Recovery. It includes representation from the Scottish Government, Local Authorities & the voluntary sector.

More Choices, More Chances aims to better prepare vulnerable young people for adult life and work. .Providing the right support, choices and chances to young people is central to its overall purpose. MCMC is located in a strategic framework that comprises Getting it Right for Every Child, Curriculum for Excellence (16+ Learning Choices is the new model for supporting the planning and delivery of the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence) and Skills for Scotland and which underpins Government's commitment to improve outcomes for all young people - with more choices and chances for those who need them. The strategy has five key approaches to resolving this:

  • by ensuring that Curriculum for Excellence provides opportunities to young people under 16 that are tailored to individual need, with flexibility and appropriate support for every young person - intervening as early as possible to ensure that;
  • by ensuring that every young person has a clear 16+ Learning Choices pathway from school into learning post-16, with supported transitions and sustained opportunities;
  • by ensuring that learning is a financially viable option, by considering the financial support available to young people;
  • by ensuring that the right support is available to young people to find out about, engage with and sustain learning and employment;
  • by making a joint commitment to action between central and local government, employers, learning providers and support agencies to develop the service infrastructure required to meet the needs of vulnerable young people;

Post school education services

Following the report of the Beattie Committee Implementing Inclusiveness: Realising Potential (1999) the then Executive endorsed the principle that Inclusiveness should underpin all post-school education. Inclusiveness is about providing learning opportunities that give the best match to the needs of the individual. The Scottish Government's approach to participation in lifelong learning is focussed not only encouraging all colleges and universities in Scotland to continue to develop inclusive, learner centred policies but also to remove barriers which prevent students from participating in lifelong learning. That is why the Scottish Government is moving from a widening access agenda to the widening of the mainstream.

To assist with this process the Scottish Government has recently updated Partnership Matters:

This provides guidance to local authorities, NHS Boards and voluntary organisations on supporting students with additional needs in further and higher education. The guidance sets out the roles and responsibilities of all the agencies involved and encourages a partnership approach to cross-agency working. It recognises that young people may experience barriers in accessing and participating in learning and that colleges, universities and schools may be required to work together to plan for and prepare the young person for transition from school to post school education

As part of the commitment to providing learning opportunities that give the best match to the needs of the individual the Scottish Government is working alongside the Scottish funding Council to improve further education in Scotland for students with complex needs.

The same as you? review of services for people with learning disabilities called for an inclusive approach to services for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. It highlighted how the transition phase between child and adult services is crucial and the need for partnership between local authorities and NHS Boards in planning services. Recommendations from a follow up report Working for a change? have led to a national focus on employment for people with learning disabilities within the Workforce Plus agenda. The same as you? implementation group have also produced a report, Changing Childhoods, outlining appropriate service models for children and young people with learning disabilities.

HM Inspectorate of Education ( HMIE)

HMIE has responsibilities to evaluate the quality of pre-school education, all schools, teacher education, community learning and development, further education and local authorities. HMIE also publish reports of interest to the public and professionals about services for children and evaluate child protection services. Included in their publications are reports on additional support needs including a report on the evaluation of the implementation of the Additional Support for Learning Act published in 2007. All reports are available from:

The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care

The Care Commission regulates the quality of care services in Scotland and this includes services for children and young people. A range of publications, including National Care Standards for services for children and young people and self assessment tools available for care services regulated by the Care Commission, is available from their website:

In particular, the Care Commission regulates the following range of services which includes, where appropriate, services for children and young people with additional support needs:

  • adoption agencies
  • care homes for children and young people
  • childcare agencies
  • early education and childcare up to the age of 16
  • foster care and family placement services
  • school care accommodation services.
Back to top