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Advice for parents

What are schools’ and local authorities’ responsibilities?

Local authorities have a duty to make sure that every child whose education they are responsible for is able to access an “adequate and efficient” education. They also have duties to make sure that children and young people get additional support for learning to reach their fullest potential. These duties include:

  • making arrangements to identify any children with additional support needsThis is the legal definition of additional support needs from the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004, as amended. A child or young person has additional support needs... and ask for help from other agencies such as health and social work to help do this
  • agreeing with your request to identify if your child has additional support needs or for a specific type of assessment, unless they think it is unreasonable
  • to seek and take account of any advice or information you or other agencies provide about your child’s needs during assessment or when deciding  whether to open a co-ordinated support plan (CSP) for them
  • to provide “adequate and efficient” support for your child if they attend a preschool or school in their authority area, or a school in a different authority that they have placed your child in
  • to provide a CSP for children who need one and keep it updated
  • to provide appropriate support to your child if they are under 3 and have additional support needs because of a disabilityThe legal definition of a disability, under the Equality Act 2010, is “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to...
  • to monitor the support they are providing to your child to make sure it meets their needs
  • to have arrangements in place for resolving disputes
  • to publish and keep updated information about meeting children’s additional support needs and resolving disagreements.

While these duties lie with the local authority, it will often be through their schools that they meet their responsibilities.

You can:

- visit your local authority website and look at their additional support needs policy
- contact Enquire to talk through any questions you have about your local authority's responsibilities
- order a copy of Enquire's Parents' guide to additional support for learning

Contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303

Helpline is closed on Sundays.


Enquire’s Parents’ Guide

Our easy to read guide explains you and your child’s rights, local authorities’ duties, what to expect at meetings and much more.