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Advice for professionals in Scotland


Additional support for learning: What’s my role?

It is important that all staff working with children with additional support needs in local authority schools and early learning and childcare settings are aware of local authority duties and parents’, carers’ and children’s rights under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Scotland Act 2004, as amended (often referred to as the ASL Act).

Under the ASL Act, local authorities have specific duties to make sure that children and young people who have additional support needs are given the support they need to reach their full potential. While these duties lie with the local authority, it is often through their schools and early learning and childcare settings that they meet their responsibilities.

Local authority duties include:

  • making arrangements to identify children with additional support needs
  • complying with a parent’s request to assess their child, unless certain circumstances apply (such as if they don’t think it is relevant to the child, or another assessment has been carried out recently)
  • seeking and taking account of any advice or information parents or other agencies provide about a child’s needs during assessment or when deciding whether to open a co-ordinated support plan (CSP)
  • providing “adequate and efficient” support for children with additional support needs if they attend a preschool or school in their local authority area, or a school in a different authority that they have placed a child in
  • to provide a CSP for children who need one and keep it updated
  • to provide appropriate support to a child if they are under 3 and are disabled
  • to monitor the support they are providing to a 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.

All professionals working with children have responsibilities under the Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) framework. The aim is to make sure that children and young people can receive the right help, at the right time, from the right people. More information can be found on the Scottish Government website.

This briefing explains the duties social work practitioners have under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended). It will be a useful resource for social workers, residential child-care staff, support workers, adoption and foster care service staff and social workers with responsibility for child protection and looked after children.

This factsheet explains the duties healthcare practitioners have under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended). It will be useful to all those healthcare staff who support children with additional support needs including health visitors, paediatricians, community health teams, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists and medical practitioners in paediatrics, general practice and child and family psychiatry.

The law says that all looked after children should have the extra support they need to get the most out of their education and achieve their full potential. This briefing explains the rights of looked after children under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended). Relevant to all those with a role to play in supporting looked after children, including residential child-care staff, social workers, advocacy workers, foster carers, kinship carers, children’s panel members, education staff and looked after children’s nurses.

Contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303

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