Enquire is a lifeline for parents who are struggling and need help as far as educational policies and law are concerned
Chapter 7: Co-ordinated support plans
- Children under the age of three
- Pre-school and school-age children
- Is a co-ordinated support plan required?
- Kemal’s story
- The information in a co-ordinated support plan
- If it is decided your child does not need a co-ordinated support plan
- How your child’s co-ordinated support plan may be prepared
- Preparing a co-ordinated support plan
- Monitoring and reviewing your child’s co-ordinated support plan
- If you are unhappy with any decision about your child’s co-ordinated support plan
- Children who are educated outside the home authority
- Children who are educated outside the public education system
- At a glance: Co-ordinated support plans
Co-ordinated support plans are legal documents, so all education authorities must follow the same detailed rules and regulations.
Children under the age of three
Co-ordinated support plans may be prepared for children from the age of three. If, below this age, your child has additional support needs and your education authority has agreed to provide the necessary support, they may have an action plan (see the chapter on ‘Providing additional support’). Information in this plan will help you and the professionals working with your child to decide if they need a co-ordinated support plan to manage their support when they start pre-school or school.
Pre-school and school-age children
Why your child may need a co-ordinated support plan
Most children with additional support needs will not require a co-ordinated support plan to manage their additional support. The law states that your child should have a co-ordinated support plan if their additional support needs arise from complex or multiple factors, are likely to last for more than one year, and they require a high level of support from education and services outside
education such as social work or health. Children will have to meet all the criteria to qualify for a co-ordinated support plan.
A complex factor is one that “has, or is likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person” (Supporting children’s learning code of practice 2010).
A complex factor could arise from severe learning difficulties, a sensory impairment such as blindness, or a physical disability such as cerebral palsy. It is the impact on the child or young person’s learning that is important, however, and not the diagnostic label alone. Something that has a significant and adverse effect on one child’s school education could have little or no effect on another child. For a guide to why some children may need additional support, see the section on What are additional support needs?.
“Multiple factors are factors which are not by themselves complex factors but, when taken together, have or are likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person.”
One example of this is a child who is having problems at school due to the combined effects of a mild sensory impairment and the pressure of being a young carer at home. These factors may have a significant adverse effect on their education.
Likely to last for more than one year
The professionals who assess your child will have to judge whether their additional support needs are likely to continue for more than one year. One example of this is a child with a long-term debilitating illness such as muscular dystrophy.
Requires significant additional support from education and one or more appropriate agencies
To benefit from their school education, some children will need a high level of support from education and, in addition, from social work services or one or more appropriate agencies, such as Health Boards. Professionals will consider things like how often your child will need a certain type of support, how intensive that support needs to be and how many different professionals, perhaps from a variety of agencies, need to be involved. A co-ordinated support plan will help bring this all together.
When deciding whether your child needs a co-ordinated support plan, the education authority must:
- find out what information is available from other agencies that are working with your child
- take account of assessments your child has had, including any private ones you have arranged
- consider your views and your child’s views. It must take this information into account.
You have the right to ask the education authority to establish whether your child needs a co-ordinated support plan. You might do this if you believe that your child does require one and this has not been picked up by the professionals working with them. Your child can make this request themselves, if they are aged 16 or over.
If your child is being assessed for a co-ordinated support plan, you can also ask the education authority to refer your child for a specific type of assessment to help decide if a co-ordinated support plan is needed. For more information on types of assessments available and how to request them see the chapter on ‘The assessment process’ and Enquire Factsheet 13: Co-ordinated support plans.
The education authority must comply with the request unless it considers that the request is unreasonable. If so, it must inform you why; for example, it is an inappropriate type of assessment for your child’s circumstances (see chart below).
Is a co-ordinated support plan required?
Adapted from Supporting children’s learning code of practice (Scottish Government, 2010).
(picture posed by model)
Kemal, a refugee from Iraq, has recently arrived in Scotland with his family. Kemal is 10 and is on the autistic spectrum. This, combined with his family’s circumstances and the fact that English is not his first language, means he has multiple, ongoing additional support needs.
The family gets intensive support from a specialist social worker and significant input from a voluntary agency to help them settle in Scotland. The education authority and all professionals working with the family agreed to begin the assessment process with a view to preparing a co-ordinated support plan for Kemal.
The assessment process involved Kemal’s social worker, parents, the school, the educational psychologist, the English as an additional language service and the voluntary agency specialising in refugee family support. The assessment team decided that Kemal’s needs and circumstances required a co-ordinated support plan. This plan will make sure the support Kemal receives is effectively co-ordinated across the organisations and agencies supporting him.
The information in a co-ordinated support plan
A co-ordinated support plan will contain:
Your child’s strengths
This section will provide an overall picture of your child including their skills and capabilities, the activities they like to do and how they like to learn.
Why your child has additional support needs
This section will describe all the factors giving rise to your child’s additional support needs and how they are affecting their development and ability to learn. For example, it may outline how a particular learning difficulty is affecting their schoolwork or how life outside school may be affecting their school progress.
Your child’s educational objectives
Your child will have certain aims and goals to achieve. They will be aims and goals to suit your child’s strengths and needs, to help them grow and develop. Professionals may use the experience outcomes in Curriculum for Excellence as a starting point but should also use all the assessment information available. For example, they may include learning particular social or communication skills, learning to travel, or how to feed and dress themselves. Alongside these there may be very specific goals, such as reaching a certain level in language or mathematics. Short-term targets will still be dealt with through an individualised educational programme or other learning plan (see the sections on planning your child’s additional support).
What support is needed to help your child achieve their objectives
This section will provide specific details of teaching and other staffing arrangements, appropriate facilities and resources, and particular approaches to learning and teaching. This could include additional staffing or therapy time, or changes to the curriculum. Support provided by other agencies may also be included, e.g. from social work or voluntary organisations.
Who will provide your child’s support
This section will detail which professionals will be involved in helping your child. It will not name them, because the staff may change, but it will list, for example, ‘visiting teacher of deaf children’, ‘speech and language therapist’, ‘clinical psychologist’, ‘classroom assistant’ or ‘social worker’.
Details of the person responsible for co-ordinating your child’s plan
A CSP co-ordinator will be appointed by the education authority to be ‘in charge’ of your child’s co-ordinated support plan.
The co-ordinator will have experience in planning and providing support for children and young people with additional support needs. The co-ordinator could be the head teacher, an educational psychologist, a social worker, a therapist from health or the person who has already been appointed the lead professional. The choice of co-ordinator will depend on the needs of the child and the person best placed to co-ordinate the agencies involved.
The co-ordinator will be responsible for working with all the people involved in helping your child and ensuring the necessary support is provided.
The education authority will decide who the co-ordinator will be for each individual plan. While the education authority should seek and take account of your views and the views of your child, it does not need your agreement to appoint a co-ordinator.
- the name of your child’s pre-school or school
- the name, address and telephone number of the person who will co-ordinate the additional support set out in the plan
- a contact person in the local authority who you or your child can contact for advice or further information
- your and your child’s comments
- a date for review of the plan.
There is guidance on writing a co-ordinated support plan. See Enquire Factsheet 13: Co-ordinated support plans for more information.
Your child’s co-ordinated support plan is confidential but will be available to the team working with your child. A copy will be held by the education authority, your child’s school, you and your child if they are aged 16 or over. Apart from the team of professionals involved in providing your child’s support, the information in it should not be seen by anyone without your permission or, if they are aged 16 or over, your child’s permission.
There are times when its contents can be disclosed without your permission. These include the following situations:
- when schools and education authorities are being inspected (including nurseries and pre-schools), government inspectors may ask to see a sample of co-ordinated support plans
- when the Additional Support Needs Tribunal is considering your child’s co-ordinated support plan (see the section on Additional Support Needs Tribunals)
- when Scottish Ministers are considering a complaint against an education authority regarding its failure to carry out a duty under Section 70 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. For more about this please see Enquire Factsheet 4: Resolving disagreements and Enquire Factsheet 16: Section 70 complaints.
The Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations also allow an education authority to disclose a plan or extracts to people it thinks should see them in the interests of the child or young person, and to the Principal Reporter of the Children’s Hearing System.
If it is decided your child does not need a co-ordinated support plan
The education authority must inform you of its decision in writing and explain the reasons.
The education authority must still make adequate and efficient provision for your child’s additional support needs. This might be managed through personal learning planning, an individualised educational programme or similar plan (see the section on planning your child’s additional support).
However, if you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal to an Additional Support Needs Tribunal (see the section on Additional Support Needs Tribunals).
How your child’s co-ordinated support plan may be prepared
You and your child, if they want to, will usually be invited to attend a meeting with staff at their pre-school centre or school. Other professionals from different agencies who may be involved in providing support for your child will also attend. If your child does not want to attend meetings or feels unable to, their views must still be sought and considered.
This is an opportunity for you both to give your views and provide any information that you think may be helpful in preparing the plan (see the chapter Being involved in making decisions for more information on giving your views and the support you can get to do this). The education authority must find out what your views are and what your child’s views are, and take them into account. Have a look at step 2. It may give you some idea about the kind of things you’ll want to comment on.
A working version of the plan will be drawn up. The professionals responsible for doing this, under the lead of an education authority officer, must consider:
- why your child needs additional support
- what support they are already getting
- any aims or goals that your child is working towards at school and how education and the appropriate agencies involved will help your child achieve them
- information and advice that you or your child have given
- information and advice from other agencies
- information from other assessments your child has had, including any that you have privately obtained
- which agency will be responsible for providing a particular kind of support
- the school your child will attend
- the person in the education authority you can contact for advice and information about your child’s plan.
The education authority may ask for further meetings if they need to discuss/change the draft plan.
After discussion, the revised plan will be prepared and sent to everyone involved, including you or, if they are aged 16 or over, your child for final comments.
Further changes are made if necessary. Once everyone involved agrees with the final plan, the education authority signs it. A copy is sent to you or, if they are aged 16 or over, your child. At this stage you will be given information about rights of appeal to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal (see the section on Additional Support Needs Tribunals).
A date is set to review the plan, which will normally be one year later. An earlier review may be carried out if circumstances change enough to warrant it.
A co-ordinator is appointed if one is not already in place.
It should take no more than 16 weeks for the education authority to prepare your child’s co-ordinated support plan. Exceptions to the 16-week time limit include:
- where you have made a request for a specific type of assessment (see the section on How to request a specific type of assessment) and the assessment or examination cannot take place or the result will not be available within 16 weeks
- the education authority has asked another agency, such as health, for help and the agency has not responded in time.
If there is a delay, the education authority must tell you and must set a new date for completion of the process. The time for preparing the plan should not be exceeded by longer than is reasonably necessary and, in any event, should not be more than 24 weeks.
Preparing a co-ordinated support plan
Adapted from Supporting children’s learning code of practice (Scottish Government, 2010).
Monitoring and reviewing your child’s co-ordinated support plan
Your child’s co-ordinated support plan must be reviewed every 12 months to ensure that the support it describes is still appropriate for your child’s needs. You will be invited to a review meeting. Remember that you can have a supporter or an advocate with you at the meeting if you feel you need any help (see the section on supporters and advocates). The review meeting will consider:
- if the aims and goals set out in your child’s plan have been achieved
- any new aims and goals that need to be set and what support will be needed to help your child achieve them
- whether there has been any change in the circumstances that have led to your child’s additional support needs.
If you think your child’s circumstances have changed significantly during the year, it may be decided that they no longer need the co-ordinated support plan or that the plan should change. If this happens, an early review meeting may be called. You have the right to request an early review meeting if you believe this is the case. For more information about meetings, see the section on meetings in chapter 11 ‘Being involved in making decisions’.
If you are unhappy with any decision about your child’s co-ordinated support plan
If you disagree with any decisions that your education authority makes about your child’s co-ordinated support plan, you can use free local mediation services to try to resolve the matter early on. However, if the disagreement cannot be resolved this way you, or your child if they are aged 16 or over, have the right to appeal to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.
Children who are educated outside the home authority
If your education authority arranges for your child to go to a pre-school centre or school run by another authority or an independent special or grant-aided school, then your education authority is responsible for establishing whether they need a co-ordinated support plan, for developing the plan, and for monitoring and reviewing your child’s progress.
If your child attends a school outside your local area as a result of a placing request, then the host education authority is responsible for establishing whether they need a co-ordinated support plan, for developing the plan and for monitoring and reviewing your child’s progress.
Children who are educated outside the public education system
If you have arranged for your child to attend an independent or grant-aided school or to educate your child at home, then you, your child if they are aged 16 or over, or the manager of your child’s school can ask your education authority to find out whether your child would need a co-ordinated support plan and what type of support would be detailed in it. The education authority can choose to meet that request, but is not legally obliged to do so.
At a glance: Co-ordinated support plans
You have the right to:
- ask the education authority responsible for your child’s education to find out whether your child requires a co-ordinated support plan, and to review an existing plan
- request a specific type of assessment and/or examination for your child to find out whether they require a co-ordinated support plan
- be asked for your views and have them taken into account and noted in your child’s co-ordinated support plan
- receive a copy of your child’s co-ordinated support plan
- have your case heard by an Additional Support Needs Tribunal if you are involved in a dispute relating to a co-ordinated support plan.
Your child’s rights:
- If your child is aged 16 or over, they have the same rights as you, listed above.
Education authorities must:
- provide a co-ordinated support plan for children who need one and keep this under review
- seek and take into account advice and information from other agencies, parents and the child when assessing a child to find out if they need a co-ordinated support plan
- monitor and review the adequacy and provision of support in a child’s co-ordinated support plan
- publish, and keep updated, information on their arrangements for identifying children who need co-ordinated support plans
- have arrangements for resolving disputes about co-ordinated support plans
- publish, and keep updated, information on resolving disputes about co-ordinated support plans.