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Advice for professionals

Understanding children and young peoples’ rights

By law, every child has the right to be provided with a school education. Children and young people also have the right to receive “adequate and efficient” support if they have been identified as having 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....

This means that every child has the right to attend school and receive support that meets their individual needs and helps them to reach their full potential. All children have the right to have their views listened to and be involved in decisions about their support.

Until a child is 16, parents or carers can use their parental rights to help make sure their children have the support they need.

When a child turns 16, if they have capacity, it is assumed they will be able to act on their own behalf. This means that at this age they will have the same rights as parents, including to:

  • ask the local authority to find out if they have additional support needs
  • ask the local authority for a specific type of assessment (see assessment section for more information)
  • make a placing requestA placing request is a formal, recordable request that a parent or young person aged 16 or over can make to a local authority for a place in a school... to another school and appeal the decision
  • ask the local authority to open or review a co-ordinated support plan (CSP) and to have their views noted in the plan
  • receive advice and information about their additional support needs
  • have a supporter or advocate with them at meetings about their additional support needs.

Most parents will remain involved in their children’s education, attending planning meetings and receiving copies of any letters or plans. However in some cases (such as when a child is over 16 and excluded from school) communication from the school may be directly with the pupil.

Contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303

Helpline open today 9.00am - 4:30pm.

Resources/Advice for Young People/

Reach is our website offering pupils advice and information about getting the right support in school.

Go to the REACH website