Young people and parents of children with additional support needs will be able to make out-of-area placing requests if the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill is passed by Parliament, ensuring equality with parents of children without ASN.
Support for the proposal was made today by the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee in its Stage 1 Report on the Bill. However, the committee also recommended that the Scottish Government keeps the 2004 Act under close review in light of the evidence from witnesses.
Committee Convener Karen Whitefield MSP said: “It became clear from our evidence sessions that although local authorities had made provision for children with additional support needs under the existing legislation, they had not always been seen to be in tune with the spirit of the 2004 Act.
"Parents and children are currently not being properly served when requesting their child is placed at a school of their choice and this Bill will ensure that the intention of the 2004 Act is realised. The proposed changes would also mean that the responsibility for providing mediation and dispute-resolution services to parents who have made an unsuccessful out-of-area placing request would now be on the local authority in which the child hopes to be educated rather than the one in which they live. We have also made a number of recommendations on appealing out-of-area placing requests and the tribunal system.”
The purpose of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) ( Scotland) Bill is to strengthen and clarify the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.
The 2004 Act introduced a new system for the assessment of, and provision of support to, children and young people with ASN in relation to their education. The Act also set out the duties placed on local authorities and other agencies and the rights of parents and young people. It provided for a statutory coordinated support plan, an appeals system and placing requests.