The Scottish Government guidance we have been looking at is called “Guidance on the presumption to provide education in a mainstream setting“, and yet it is only now – on page 13 of the document – that we reach consideration of the sometimes thorny issue of deciding on the right provision for a child or young person.
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.
In August 2016, Part 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will come into force, putting the “Child’s Plan” on a statutory footing. In some quarters, this is seen as the cue to put away all those pesky Co-ordinated Support Plans (CSPs) in a drawer, lock it, and move on …
However, this is not the legal position. In fact, the new law does not alter the status or effect of the CSP at all. Article 3(2)(b)(ii) of the Child’s Plan (Scotland) Order 2016 require a Child’s Plan to record all the information set out in a CSP which is “a record of any wellbeing needs which the child has and any action taken or to be taken to address those needs” – or, in other words, most of it. Article 7(9)(b) effectively ties the review cycle of a Child’s Plan to that of the CSP.
And despite these (and other) legislative developments within this time, the CSP remains an important part of the education policy. The Scottish Government recently listed their
‘continued commitment’ to the additional support for learning legislative framework as the key commitment in the field of education, in their Draft Delivery Plan (2016–2020) for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
From a dispute resolution point of view, for all its faults, the system of mediation, independent adjudication and the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland provide a more robust system than the system of complaints set up under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Part 4 and Part 5 Complaints) Order 2016.
Therefore, it would seem that there is life in the old CSP yet…
Much of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 is due to come into force this autumn (subject to anything the Supreme Court may have to say in the case of Christian Institute & Ors v. Scottish Ministers). This has been characterised by some as GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) becoming law.
However, there are at least some parts of the GIRFEC framework which already carry (some) legal weight, by virtue of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. That Act (in section 27) requires the Scottish Ministers to prepare a statutory Code of Practice (currently in its 2nd edition), to which education authorities and other appropriate agencies must have regard in carrying out their functions.
The Code has a lot to say about GIRFEC already (and it was published in 2010). Here’s some of the highlights:
“Effective assessment, planning, action and review, consistent with the values and principles of Curriculum for Excellence, Getting it right for every child, the Early Years Framework and the provisions of this Act, involve:
- taking a holistic view of children and young people and their circumstances, and what they need to grow and develop and achieve their potential;
- seeking, taking account of and noting the views of children, parents and young people and involving them fully in the assessment process and in finding solutions;
- ensuring that parents, children and young people, understand, and are asked to agree to, the aims of any assessment and the purposes of any action proposed ensuring that assessment is an ongoing, integrated process of gathering and evaluating information, planning, providing for, and reviewing, services for the individual;
- adopting the least intrusive and most effective course of action affecting the lives of children, young people and families;
- taking into account issues of diversity and equality and ensuring that outcomes do not discriminate against children, young people and their families. This includes not discriminating on grounds of race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture, religion or belief, and age.
- working in partnership with, and building the capacity of, parents to secure education for their children and to promote their child‘s health and wellbeing, development and welfare.”
“Those with additional support needs comprise a broad group of children and young people whose needs require to be identified, understood and addressed to ensure that they benefit from school education. Education authorities need to play their part in ensuring that there is effective communication, collaboration and integrated assessment, planning, action and review when other agencies are involved.”
“Where lead professionals are working with children or young people with additional support needs then, in addition to the points set out below, they also have a responsibility to be familiar with the Act and, in particular, to ensure that parents and young people themselves are aware of their rights when they have concerns or disagreements about the provisions being made under the Act.”
“Where a range of individual assessments is required, the education authority should, in line with Getting it right for every child practice, seek to bring these within one assessment process to avoid duplication and placing the child or young person, and his/her family, under stress. This will involve ensuring that there is a lead professional co-ordinating the process when the assessments involve multi-professional staff. The ultimate aim will be to bring the assessments and their conclusions together into a single plan of action.”
“In all circumstances, planning should aim to ensure the effective co-ordination of support, including parents and the child or young person, so that it is clear what the intended learning outcomes are and what additional support is required to achieve these. Every opportunity should be taken to ensure that there is an integrated plan of action for a child or young person where more than one agency or service is involved and the aim should be to have one plan in line with the principles of Getting it right for every child.”