East Lothian Council believes that inclusion is the cornerstone that will help schools to achieve equity and excellence in education for all our children and young people. An inclusive approach, with an appreciation of diversity and an ambition for all to achieve their full potential is essential to getting it right for every child and raising attainment for all.
The purpose of the policy document below is to outline the ways in which East Lothian Council will meet the needs of children and young people who experience barriers to learning as a result of additional support needs, disability or factors impacting on their wellbeing.
The legislative and policy landscape includes, but is not limited to, the following:
The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (and subsequent amendment in 2009) outlines the concept of additional support needs and the functions and duties that are placed on education authorities to identify and support those needs (see Appendix 1: The duties of the Authority under the ASL Act).
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 represented a fundamental shift in emphasis from parents having rights over children to the principle that parents have responsibilities towards their children. The Act also made it essential that local authorities, NHS Health Boards and all professionals and agencies work in collaboration to provide integrated services for children and families.
The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 requires education authorities to provide education for all children in mainstream schools, except under certain circumstances. In addition, it placed a new duty: to secure that the education is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential and to involve them in decisions, which will affect them significantly.
The Education (Disability Strategies and Pupil Records) (Scotland) Act 2002 requires schools to make reasonable adjustments for the needs of disabled children and ensure they must not discriminate against disabled children. The Education Authority must prepare and implement an accessibility strategy to increase the access of its disabled pupils to the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, to school buildings and to information.
Supporting Children’s Learning: Code of Practice (third edition) 2017 explains the duties placed on Education Authorities and other agencies to support children and young people’s learning. It provides guidance on the ASL Act’s provisions as well as on the supporting framework of secondary legislation.
The Equality Act (2010) simplified and strengthened previous protections for children and young people with ‘protected characteristics’ (e.g. age, race, disability and sexual orientation) from discrimination. This strengthened inclusion in education, including school trips and activities, for all children and young people regardless of their additional support needs or disability.
The Children and Young People Act (2014) has wide reaching powers to promote the Scottish Government’s aims to encourage effective and targeted services for children and families as well as the promotion of children’s rights. Through the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) National Practice Model, the Act promotes cross-boundary models of service delivery to make best use of expertise and resources in an integrated way with the wellbeing of children and young people being paramount. The wellbeing indicators (safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included) ensure that a holistic approach is taken to ensure the wellbeing of all children and young people. The Act also introduced increased provision of early learning and childcare and a range of corporate parenting responsibilities to promote the wellbeing of children and young people in care.
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 (implemented in April 2018) states that each Local Authority has a duty to prepare an overarching young carer statement plus prepare for each young carer an individual statement which identifies personal outcomes, identified needs and any support to be provided to meet those needs.
Curriculum for Excellence aims to provide a coherent, more flexible curriculum for all children and young people aged 3-18 years. The curriculum comprises the totality of experiences which are planned for children and young people wherever they are being educated. Entitlement includes: a coherent curriculum from 3-18 years; a broad general education until S3; a senior phase after S3 and personal support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the curriculum and support in moving into a positive and sustained destination beyond school.
The National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education sets out the Scottish Government’s vision and priorities for our children’s progress in learning. The Framework, part of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, is key in driving work to continually improve Scottish education and close the attainment gap, delivering both excellence and equity.
Taken together, each requires Education Authorities to consider a wide range of issues facing children and young people and put in place processes and supports to:
- Identify and provide support to allow children and young people to overcome any barriers to learning and reach their full potential;
- Prevent discrimination of pupils with disabilities and protected characteristics and provide reasonable adjustments to ensure equality of opportunity in learning;
- Plan for accessibility of the curriculum, school information and physical access;
- Consider the wellbeing of children and young people.