Parents’ rights to be involved
By law, parents have the right to be involved in decisions their child’s learning and support.
Under additional support for learning law, these rights apply to anyone who cares for a child, so this includes foster and kinship carers.
What are my rights?
Local authorities must promote the involvement of parents and carers in their children’s education. All parents and carers will be involved in different ways throughout their child’s time in education, and evidence shows that this can help children do their best.
As a parent or carer of a child with additional support needs, you might have more interactions with your child’s school or nursery, so that you can all make sure your child has the support they need.
The law on additional support for learning says that you have the right to:
- share your views and have them listened to in decisions about your child’s education and support
- receive information or advice about your child’s additional support needs
- have a supporter or advocate with you at meetings about your child’s support.
Working together with your child’s school
This factsheet explains how you can have positive conversations with your child’s school or nursery, including advice for attending meetings about your child’s support.
Sharing your views and being involved in decisions
The staff working with your child should see you as a valued partner in your child’s education and support. You have unique and expert knowledge of your child and your views should always be considered when decisions are being made.
There are certain times when the local authority (which in practice usually means staff at your child’s school or nursery) must seek and take account of your views, and any information and advice you provide. These include when they are:
- assessing whether your child has additional support needs
- deciding or reviewing what additional support your child should receive
- deciding or reviewing whether your child needs a co-ordinated support plan (CSP)
- preparing a CSP for your child.
This will often happen through meetings about your child’s support. But you can also give your views at other times, or ask to talk things through when you have concerns or questions.
Sharing information about your child with their school
Infographic with useful tips on sharing information about your child with their school.
Knowing your rights and getting information and advice
Understanding your rights and your child’s rights can help you to feel more informed and confident when working with the staff that support your child. You can find out what your rights are across the information on our website, and in our publications.
You can also get information from your child’s school or the local authority about how things work in your local area. Your local authority have a legal duty to make information available about:
- their arrangements for identifying children and young people who have additional support needs, finding out what those needs are, and making sure those needs are met
- the role of parents, children and young people in these arrangements
- their arrangements for resolving disagreements about additional support for learning
- the person you can contact for more information or advice about additional support for learning
- other services that you can get further advice, information and support from.
A summary of this information must be available:
- on your local authority’s website
- in the handbook for child’s school or nursery
- on request from your child’s school or nursery.
Additional support for learning: A guide for parents and carers
Our easy to read guide to additional support for learning in Scotland explains your and your child’s rights, local authorities’ duties, what to expect at meetings and much more.
Supporters and advocates
You have the right to take a supporter or advocate along to meetings about your child’s additional support. Supporters and advocates can also help you in other ways, such as helping you to write letters or prepare what you want to say in a meeting.
A supporter can be a family member, friend, partner, or anyone else who you would like to support you. It can also be someone from a voluntary service or another professional supporting your family — if supporting you would not conflict with any of their professional duties. A supporter can attend meetings with you, take notes, and give you moral support and advice.
An advocate can be someone from an advocacy organisation or anyone else that you would like to speak on your behalf. An advocate can wholly or partly communicate on your behalf, both in meetings and in other ways. You can find advocacy services near to you by using the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance’s find an advocate search.
You can search for other support services using our Find a Service search tool.
You have the right to have your views heard. Remember there are lots of people who can support you to share your views – friends, family, or support from advocacy services.
If you’re bringing someone along to a meeting with you for support, have a chat to them first about what role you’d like them to have. Do you want them to join in the conversation and help you ask questions? Or would you prefer if they were quiet and focussed on taking notes?
Order a free copy of our guide ‘Additional support for learning: a guide for parents and carers’ for an overview of your and your child’s rights.