In this, the fifth part of a series on the Scottish Government (2019) Guidance on the presumption to provide education in a mainstream setting, we will be looking at the third of the “Key features of inclusion” : Achieving.
The guidance again begins by setting out the key expectations:
- All children and young people should be achieving to their full potential
- All children and young people should have access to a varied curriculum tailored to meet their needs
The concept of potential is a broad one, which is not limited to purely academic notions of success or achievement. Both the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000 and the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 use, word for word, the obligation from Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that “the education of the child shall be directed to: (a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;”.
This core aspect of education law in Scotland has been directly incorporating the UNCRC for years before the Scottish Government agreed to do the same with the rest of it!
The requirement for a varied curriculum is one which seems suited to Curriculum for Excellence, in theory at least. In practice, concerns have been raised about a lack of subject choice in the senior phase in Scottish schools.
Learners progress through the levels of Curriculum for Excellence, by reference to the experiences and outcomes listed in each curricular area. For pupils with complex additional support needs, who may never progress beyond the early or pre-early level, progress in line with their own potential remains important, and Education Scotland have published Milestones to support learners with complex additional support needs.
Achieving, is of course, one of the SHANARRI indicators of wellbeing within the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) framework. According to this guidance:
“The Achieving Indicator is about enabling children and young people to be supported to help them progress and develop the skills, ambition and know how that will help create a positive future for them.”
Finally, the guidance highlights that wider achievement should be recognised. There is specific reference make of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and ASDAN schemes, but there are many other forms of wider achievement as well – which can lead to SQA qualifications (see SQA page on Wider Achievement).
All of this is important, as it sets a level of ambition and expectation for any educational placement and a useful starting point for parents, pupils and staff when considering educational objectives for educational planning documents.
Next up is the fourth, and final key feature to be considered – whether the pupil is supported…