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Additional learning rights for under-16s come into force

11 January 2018

Young people aged 12-15 with additional support needs in learning now have a series of rights previously available only to those aged 16 or over, along with parents and carers.

Amendments to the Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act 2004 by the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 have come into force, 12-15 year olds with the capacity to do so will now have more say in decisions about their education.

They can now:

  • ask for their additional support needs to be identified and planned for;
  • receive advice and information about their additional support needs;
  • be part of discussions about the support that they will receive;
  • access dispute resolution procedures to resolve concerns.

These rights will be balanced by safeguards and supported by a newly created service – My Rights, My Say, also launched today – a support service which consists of four parts. It will provide advice and information, advocacy support (for children to prepare for and understand the consequences of their own and their parents' use of rights), legal representation for tribunal references and a service which independently seeks children’s views to inform decision making.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills commented: "We want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up. That means ensuring every young person is given an equal chance to fulfil their potential.

"I am already extremely proud of our record on inclusion but these new measures go even further to ensure that children in Scotland have the most rights in Europe when it comes to accessing the support they need within the education system."

Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA’s children and young people spokesperson added: "It is fitting that this change comes at the beginning of the Year of Young People. That this will be aided by a service providing advice, information, advocacy and legal representation is key in ensuring children are supported in exploring and expressing their views and needs when it comes to support for their education."

A version of the 2004 Act showing the latest amendments can be accessed via this link.


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