Understanding the law
The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 applies to private schools in a limited number of ways.
If you are the parent of a child at a private school, you, or the managers of the private school, have the right to ask your education authority to find out whether your child has additional support needs. You have the right to ask the education authority to assess what level of support your child might need. Your education authority can choose to agree to your requests but they don’t have to, as there is no legal duty on them to comply.
If your education authority agrees to assess your child they have to provide advice and information about the type of support your child requires. If they don’t provide this, you have the right to ask for mediation. Please see Factsheet 8 for more information about mediation.
Your education authority can choose to provide additional support for your child if they are being privately educated but they are not legally obliged to do so.
You, or the managers of your child’s school, can also ask your education authority to find out if your child would need a co-ordinated support plan if the education authority were responsible for their education. Your education authority can choose to agree to this request but again, there is no legal duty on them to do so. If they agree to your request they must provide you with such information and advice about your child’s additional support needs as they consider appropriate. For further information about co-ordinated support plans please see Factsheet 13 and The parents’ guide to additional support for learning.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act applies to all schools, including private schools. The Act includes duties not to treat a disabled pupil less favourably and to make reasonable adjustments.
The reasonable adjustments duty includes a duty to provide auxiliary aids and services for disabled pupils. This could be:
- extra staff assistance
- a piece of equipment
- an electronic or manual note-taking service
- specialised computer software
It is not possible to say what will or will not be reasonable in any particular situation but factors which could be taken into consideration are: the effect of the disability on the individual, the financial and other costs of making the adjustments, the practicality of the adjustment, health and safety requirements, the resources of the school and the availability of financial and other assistance.
The Act does not allow schools to pass on the cost of reasonable adjustments to parents or to the disabled pupil.
For further information see our Additional support for learning and disability rights factsheet and the Schools Technical Guidance Scotland.