At any point in their lives children or young people may need extra help with their education. This may be for any reason and at any time. This is often referred to as additional support for learning or having additional support needs.

Some examples of why a child/young person may require extra help with their education are:

  • Bereavement or family illness
  • Problems at home
  • Bullying
  • Being particularly gifted or able
  • An illness, disability or sensory impairment
  • Having English as an Additional Language

A child/young person’s needs may last for a short time, and the problem may be resolved easily or their needs might be very complex, and they may require additional support for a number of years.

If you feel that your child needs additional support for learning, the first person to speak to is your child’s teacher. You have the right to request an assessment of your child. Within our school we operate a model of staged intervention where support is provided in varied ways to meet individual needs. Our approach to assessment ensures that the needs of children and young people are recognised and appropriate support can be provided. Parents/carers are always involved in making decisions about their child’s education and we will always ask your permission before any specific referrals are made. While your child is receiving support we will regularly review your child’s progress. At times, parents/carers and schools may come into dispute. While we would always hope that difficulties could be resolved at the school level we recognise that parents or young people may wish to formalise their concerns. To assist with this we have a complaints procedure and also offer independent mediation and adjudication. It is also possible under certain circumstances to refer the case to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland. The statutory framework for Additional Support for Learning is the Education [Additional Support For Learning] [Scotland] Acts 2004 and 2009.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. The GIRFEC approach aims to make it easier for parents, children, young people and the services that support them such as early years services, schools and the NHS to work together to get it right. Practitioners work together to support you and your child, working across organisational boundaries and putting your child and you at the heart of decision making, ensuring we give all our children and young people the best possible start in life.

GIRFEC means that everyone working with Scottish Borders children, young people and their families are encouraged to:

  • Ensure children, young people, and their families get the help they need when they need it and are central to the process of finding solutions.
  • Use one consistent and equitable approach, actively share information to agreed protocols and work more effectively together to improve outcomes for children and young people.
  • Be clear about personal responsibility to do the right thing for each child/ young person.
  • Work with children, young people and their families, using a collaborative approach with fewer meetings. This should ensure children, young people and their families give information only once, and enables the development of one plan to meet all their needs.
  • Respond to children and young people and take appropriate, proportionate and timely action with the minimum of paperwork, bureaucracy and duplication.

GIRFEC is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and the GIRFEC provisions are planned to be fully implemented by August 2017. If you would like any further information please ask your the Headteacher.

For more information, you can contact:

(a) Enquire, the Scottish advice service for Additional Support for Learning. They have a wealth of information, including practical guides and fact sheets for both parents/carers and young people. You can find the website at http://www.enquire.org.uk, or call them on 0345 123 2303.

(b) Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance, a charitable body registered in Scotland under registration number SC033576; http://www.siaa.org.uk

(c) Scottish Child Law Centre, a charitable body registered in Scotland under registration number SCO1274. http://www.sclc.org.uk

http://www.scotborders.gov.uk/info/886/additional_support_needs