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Advice for professionals

Understanding parents’ and carers’ rights

Parents have a range of specific rights under additional support for learning law. The definition of ‘parent’ goes further than birth parent or anyone with parental responsibilities and parental rights. It includes anyone who cares for the child, which includes anyone they live with. So if a child lives with a foster carer, family member or prospective adopter, that person has the power to ask for the ASL Act to be applied.

To maintain strong relationships with families, it’s important that the professionals who support 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... understand parental rights. Enquire knows from many years of working with families that where professionals share information with parents about their rights,  it builds trust and a solid foundation for future partnership working.

Parents have the right to:

  • have their views listened to and be involved in decisions about their child’s education and support
  • have a supporter or advocate present at meetings about their child’s needs
  • ask the local authority to find out whether their child has additional support for learning needs
  • ask the local authority for a specific assessment of their child’s additional support needs
  • receive information or advice about their child’s additional support needs
  • ask the local authority responsible for their child’s education to find out whether their child requires a co-ordinated support plan (CSP)
  • ask their local authority for a specific assessment to find out if their child needs a CSP
  • be asked for their views and for them to be taken account in their child’s CSP
  • use the free independent ASL mediationMediation is a voluntary process during which a neutral third person (a mediator) helps those involved in a disagreement or dispute to work towards an agreement that is acceptable to... service 
  • make a referral to the Additional Support Needs TribunalThe Additional Support Needs Tribunal is an independent and expert body that hears and decides appeals (called ‘references’) made by parents and young people in Scotland. The right to make...
  • 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...
  • appeal against a local authority decision to refuse their placing request
  • request independent adjudicationDisagreements about the support provided for a child can be resolved through independent adjudication when other procedures for resolving disagreements have failed. It involves an independent adjudicator formally reviewing all....

Our Parents’ guide to additional support for learning provides more information about parental rights. It can be a helpful document to use as a professional, but also to share with parents.

Contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303

Helpline open today 9.00am - 4:30pm.


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.

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