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Working with Children & Families

Working with Children & Families

Clackmannanshire is committed to working in partnership with parents. It recognises that good communication between parents and educational establishments (schools and nurseries) is central to ensuring that children and young people with additional support needs benefit fully from their education.

It recognises that parents and carers need to be fully involved in discussions about their child's additional support needs. Where necessary, they should be given support by their school or nursery to take part in meetings and be included fully in decisions that affect their child.

Establishments and parents/carers may not always agree on what is in the best interest of the child, but by developing good relationships, and through good communication, it is expected that most problems and disagreements will be solved at school/nursery level.

Many children with additional support needs will already be part of Clackmannanshire's Staged Intervention procedures. Parents/carers should be involved in this process. However, parents/carers may have concerns about their child which have not yet been addressed through the Staged Intervention process. They should raise these concerns with their school or nursery staff.

For children who are under the age of three and who are not yet in Clackmannanshire nursery placements, information may be sought through health visitors and GP practices.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 gives specific rights to parents and to young people aged 16 and over. Although the Act places the responsibility for ensuring good communication with parents it makes sense for parents to talk people who know their child best. In most cases this would be the nursery or the school their child chose.

Parents/carers have the right to:

  • Ask the Authority to find out whether their child has additional support needs;
  • Request a specific type of assessment and/or examination for their child when the Authority is proposing to formally identify through the Staged Intervention process, whether they have additional support needs;
  • Receive information or advice about their child's additional support needs;
  • Be involved in planning to meet their child's educational objectives;
  • Ask the Authority to find out whether their child requires a co-ordinated support plan;
  • Receive a copy of the child's co-ordinated support plan;
  • Have the case heard by an Additional Support Needs Tribunal if involved in a dispute relating to a co-ordinated support plan;
  • Make a placing request to a special school if their child has additional support needs;

Parents/carers can:

  • Have their views considered and be involved in decision making;
  • Have a supporter or advocate present at any discussions or meetings with the Authority when the child's additional support needs are being discussed;
  • Have free independent mediation services which can be used at any time to address any issue or misunderstanding about the child's additional support needs;
  • Appeal against the education authority's decision to refuse the placing request. The appeal would go to an education appeal committee if the child has additional support needs, and an Additional Support Needs Tribunal if they have a co-ordinated support plan;
  • Make a reference to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal for decisions about a co-ordinated support plan or placing request (as above);
  • Have a supporter or advocate present at a Tribunal Hearing.

Getting Some Help

Although it is recognised that the best way for children's needs to be addressed is for families and schools to work together, there may be times when parents feel the need for some outside help. The Act allows for specific ways for parents and young people to do this.

Advocacy

Parents/carers and young people can use an independent advocate to help them prepare for and attend meetings.
Advocates can be used as a support for parents/carers to help them speak up for themselves and understand their rights.

Advocacy-Pupils

Please refer to the Children's Rights Service page for more information.

Mediation

Mediation is a way of resolving disagreements or misunderstandings early on to prevent them escalating. The aim is that parties involved will come to an agreement on how to resolve the problem themselves. Requests for mediation can be made through the child's nursery, or school.

You can also refer to Children in Scotland Specialist national services - Enquire and Resolve:ASL page.

Independent Adjudication

This is a more formal route which has been provided for under the Act. It involves a formal review of the case by someone who is independent of Clackmannanshire Council. The adjudicator will reach a decision and make recommendations to everyone involved.

Although there is no legal obligation for the recommendations to be acted upon, both parties are expected to accept the outcome. A request can be made for independent adjudication if there is disagreement about:

  • the assessment of Additional Support Needs;
  • the level of support a child is receiving;
  • the parent/carer believes the Authority is failing to deliver the support set out in a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP).

Requests for Independent Adjudication can be made to the child's nursery, school

Additional Support Needs Tribunals

These have been set up to allow parents and young people to challenge decisions about a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP). You can refer to the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland website for more information.

Reference to a tribunal can be made if parents are unhappy about:

  • A decision to prepare a CSP;
  • A decision not to prepare a CSP;
  • A decision to continue a CSP following a review;
  • A decision to discontinue a CSP following a review;
  • The length of time it is taking to decide whether the child needs a CSP, prepare the CSP or review the CSP;
  • A decision to refuse a parent's request to find out if a CSP is needed, or should be reviewed;
  • The information in the CSP;
  • A decision to refuse a placing request where a CSP exists, or is required but not yet prepared, or an appeal against a refusal of a placing request has not yet been considered.

Further information from Clackmannanshire

Authorities must have a nominated point of contact for parents and young people to get information and advice. Please contact us using the details below.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 as amended 2009

The above Act became law in November 2005/ November 2010 (amended) Much work has been done to implement the Act and to make sure that Clackmannanshire Council provides essential information for parents and families.

The process of reviewing and evaluating procedures and practices is ongoing to ensure continuous improvement

Forth Valley Health Board

For information about the role of Allied Health professionals in supporting children and young people with additional support needs, parents/carers should contact Forth Valley Royal, Larbert.

For Further Information Contact

Educational Support Officer, Education & Schools
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000
Email: