EDUCATION (ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR LEARNING) (SCOTLAND) ACT 2004
Publication of information by the local education authority consultation paper
Additional Support Needs 07
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The Act requires that an education authority publish information about a range of matters specified in section 26(2) relating to additional support needs.
Those specified matters include information on their arrangements for identifying children and young people with additional support needs and those who require a Co-ordinated Support Plan. They must also publish information outlining their arrangements for monitoring and reviewing the adequacy of additional support for children and young people with additional support needs. This can include information on schools' practice for the management of reviews and arrangements for support for learning. It should also outline the role of parents, children and young people in these arrangements.
Education authorities must also publish information on the arrangements they have in place for independent mediation services to help avoid, or resolve, disagreements between the authority and parents or young people. This should include details of the service and how to access it.
They are required, also, to publish information detailing the officer(s) in the authority from whom parents of children having additional support needs, or young people who have these needs, can obtain further information and advice.
Section 26(3) of the Act gives Scottish Ministers a discretionary power to make further provision as to the publication requirement by way of regulations. Those further provisions include in particular:
- To add further matters to the list of things to be published
- To set the time or times by which the information is to be published
- To set the form and manner in which the information is to be published
This paper sets out our proposals for these provisions and also asks for your views on some specific issues. We are, however, happy to receive views and suggestions relating to any aspect of this paper. To help you to respond to the consultation, a response booklet has been produced as part of the consultation pack. The questions which are included in this paper are also included on page 15 of the response booklet.
Further matters to be published
We propose that authorities will have to publish information about other agencies that can provide further support, information and advice to parents where this information is known to the authority or is easily obtained. This could be contact details for the NHS Board, for Social Work Services or for local and national voluntary organisations, including advocacy services.
Consideration was also given to other key areas not covered by section 26(2) of the Act. It was decided that such a requirement would not be necessary for the reasons provided.
- Dispute Resolution Services - publishing information about these services will be covered by the specific regulations to be made under section 16 of the Act
- Transitional arrangements - matters relating to arrangements for the transition from the existing Record of Needs system to the new system will be dealt with in separate regulations which will be subject to consultation in early 2005. The transition period will be time-limited therefore it would not be appropriate to include information about this in an enduring list of matters to be published.
- Appeal rights and routes - section 28 of the Act already places duties on education authorities with regard to responding to various requests such as assessment for additional support needs or a Co-ordinated Support Plan or for a review of a CSP. Where the education authority decide not to comply with the request they have to tell the person making the request of their decision, to provide information on mediation services and dispute resolution services, and where applicable, of the right to make a referral to the Tribunal and the right to refer a refused placing request to an appeal committee.
- Criteria for a Co-ordinated Support Plan - there is already a requirement on education authorities to publish information about their arrangements for identifying and supporting those children and young people with additional support needs and identifying those who need a Co-ordinated Support Plan.
As the Act beds down it may become apparent that there are certain things education authorities need to publish information about that have not been identified at this stage. If that is the case then Scottish Ministers can exercise their powers to fill any gaps.
Q1. Are there matters, other than those in the policy paper, on which you think authorities should publish information? Your views on these would be welcome.
Timescales for publishing information
It is proposed that, in the first instance, education authorities will have to publish information within 3 months of the commencement of the Act. Thereafter, they will have to annually review and publish the information by the first day of the summer session.
Q2. Is a 3 month timescale from commencement of the Act realistic for publishing information? What are your views on the annual review timescale? Would a specific date be better?
Form and manner in which the information is to be published
Education authorities will have to seek to ensure that the information specified in section 26 of the Act and in the accompanying regulations is published on the education authority's website, where they have one, and by making a hard copy or on-line version available for inspection at departmental headquarters and in public libraries. Education authorities will have to supply copies on request to parents and young people from both their own area and from outwith. This is to take account of parents moving to another area or considering making a placing request for a school outwith their own area, for example.
Education authorities will have to provide the information in alternative forms unless they consider the request to be unreasonable; for example, the information is requested in Braille but neither the person making the request nor anybody in the family is blind or visually impaired. It is proposed that alternative forms would include:
- Orally, through discussion
- On audio tape
- Through sign language or lip-speaking
- On video tape (using signing and/or lip-speaking)
- In Braille
- In large print
- On CD-Rom
It was felt that the regulations would not need to specify production in community languages because authorities cannot racially discriminate in carrying out their functions and must have due regard to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity between persons of different racial groups.
Q3. Are there any other alternative forms that could usefully be added to the list?
Scottish Executive Education Department
Additional Support Needs Division