Chapter 1: How to use this guide

Enquire has produced this guide to additional support for learning to help you understand your rights, your child’s rights and your local authority’s responsibility to your child. We hope you will use the guide as a reference document.

The guide explains what the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004, as amended, (the ‘ASL Act’), and the code of practice that accompanies the Act, say about supporting children’s learning. It also refers to other relevant legislation. This guide does not, however, cover everything in the ASL Act, nor is it an authoritative interpretation of the legislation or code of practice.

You can get a copy of Supporting children’s learning code of practice (which contains detailed guidance for practitioners) from the Scottish Government website (

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Rights and responsibilities

The rights and responsibilities in the guide relate to those under the ASL Act, unless otherwise stated. At the end of each chapter the ‘At a glance’ section highlights the legal rights that you and your child have under this law and the legal responsibilities that local authorities have. Local authorities also have powers that allow them to take specific action but they are not legally obliged to use those powers.

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Parent or carer

Throughout the guide we refer to ‘you’ as the parent of a child who may have additional support needs. The term ‘parent’ includes anyone who has parental responsibilities under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 as amended, or who has care of a child or maintains a child.

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Public and private education

The ASL Act places legal duties on local authorities for children to be educated in the public education system. These duties apply to children educated in local authority schools, pre-schools, partnership nurseries or an independent special school placement funded by the local authority. Children who are educated outside the public education system may be identified as having additional support needs and may receive additional support. If your child is educated outside the public education system, information that is relevant to them is highlighted in each chapter where appropriate.

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Home and host authorities

If your child goes to a local authority school in the area where they and you live, they are educated by their ‘home authority’. However, if your child goes to a local authority school outside your area, they are educated in a ‘host authority’. The reasons for them being educated outside their local area will affect which authority is legally responsible for their education. In each chapter, we highlight information that is relevant to them where appropriate.

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Case studies

There are case studies in this guide to illustrate some of the barriers to learning, and the support that children and young people with additional support needs may experience. These scenarios relate to specific information in each chapter and how it may apply in practice.

The photographs used for case studies are of models and no connection is implied between these persons and the content of the guide.

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Young people aged 16 or over

Your child has similar rights to you under the ASL Act if they are aged 16 or over. The guide shows where this is relevant. From November 2017 children over the age of 12 will have some of the same rights as over 16s. Find more information on children and young people’s rights to support in school on

You, as a parent, can make decisions for your child aged 16 or over if they do not have the capacity to do so themselves. Refer to the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 for more information about this:

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Using the Glossary

Where a word is shown as a link and is in a bold font (for example, health visitor), you will find further information in the Glossary. Please use the back button of your browser to return to the main text.

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