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Publication - Consultation Paper

Supporting Children's Learning code of practice: consultation

Published: 19 Jun 2017
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781788510615

Consultation on the Supporting Children’s Learning code of practice (third edition) and associated regulations.

3 page PDF

70.7kB

3 page PDF

70.7kB

Contents
Supporting Children's Learning code of practice: consultation
Chapter 5 Co-ordinated Support Plan

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70.7kB

Chapter 5 Co-ordinated Support Plan

1. Previous chapters have considered the general provision for additional support needs that the Act requires education authorities to make. However, a number of children and young people have additional support needs arising from complex or multiple factors which require a high degree of co-ordination of support from education authorities and other agencies in order that their needs can be met. This support is co-ordinated through the provision of a coordinated support plan under the Act. This chapter explains the circumstances under which children and young people may require a co-ordinated support plan. The contents of a co-ordinated support plan are also considered.

2. The co-ordinated support plan is a statutory document which is subject to regular monitoring and review for those children and young people who have one. Education authorities must have arrangements in place to identify from among those children and young people for whose school education they are responsible, those children and young people with additional support needs who require a co-ordinated support plan and the particular additional support needs of the children so identified. Also, the Act, as amended, assumes that all looked after children and young people have additional support needs unless the authority are able to demonstrate that an individual looked after child or young person does not require additional support in order to benefit from school education. In addition, the Act, as amended, requires education authorities to consider whether each individual looked after child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan.

s6(1)
s6 (1A)

3. The criteria for requiring a plan are as follows:

2 - (1)…..a child or young person requires a plan (referred to in this Act as a "co-ordinated support plan") for the provision of additional support if-

s2(1)

(a) an education authority are responsible for the school education of the child or young person,

(b) the child or young person has additional support needs arising from-
(i) one or more complex factors, or
(ii) multiple factors,

(c) those needs are likely to continue for more than a year, and

(d) those needs require significant additional support to be provided-
(i) by the education authority in the exercise of any of their other functions as well as in the exercise of their functions relating to education, or
(ii) by one or more appropriate agencies (within the meaning of section 23(2)) as well as by the education authority themselves.

Applying the criteria for a co-ordinated support plan

An education authority must be responsible for the school education of the child or young person

4. The first test for determining whether or not a child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan is that an education authority must be responsible for the school education of the child or young person before one can be prepared. Children and young people for whose school education an authority are not responsible cannot have a co-ordinated support plan (see paragraph 10 below).

s2(1)(a)

Early years and pre-school

5. In the early years those children below the age of an eligible pre-school child (normally the age of 3 years) are not eligible for a co-ordinated support plan, since they are not eligible to receive school education. It follows, therefore, that looked after children below the age of an eligible pre-school child are not eligible for a co-ordinated support plan. Nevertheless, as described in chapter 3, the authority may, in certain circumstances have a duty to provide additional support for learning to certain children, belonging to their area, who have been drawn to their attention as having additional support needs arising from a disability within the terms of section 6(1) the Equality Act 2010 even though a co-ordinated support plan cannot be provided. However, when the eligible pre-school children are in pre-school provision managed by the authority, or in a partnership nursery, then they may have a coordinated support plan, provided the other criteria for having one are met.

s5

6. Education authorities should not wait until children reach the age of entitlement to school education, at the age of 3 years approximately, before commencing the initial assessments to determine whether a co-ordinated support plan will be necessary, if they have grounds to believe that such a plan will be required. For some children who are about to start pre-school provision, such as nursery school, it may, therefore, be necessary to begin the assessment process for deciding whether a co-ordinated support plan should be prepared, or not, for a child of two years of age or, indeed, even earlier. For some children, the assessment process will be informed by information shared after the health plan indicator review and/or 27-30 month review carried out in partnership with parents.

School age

7. The education authority are responsible for the school education of children and young people belonging to their area who attend schools under the management of the authority (referred to here as the home authority). The authority are also responsible for the school education of children and young people attending independent or grant-aided special schools where the authority have made the arrangements for children and young people to attend these schools, for example, to enable the authority to discharge their functions to make adequate and efficient provision for the additional support required. Children and young people may also be placed in independent and grant-aided special schools, and secure units, through the Children's Hearing system. In these cases the education authority are also responsible for the school education of children and young people belonging to their area. In any of these circumstances, the education authority will require to consider whether such individual children and young people require a co-ordinated support plan.

s4(1)

8. A child or young person may attend a school under the management of an education authority other than the education authority for the area to which the child or young person belongs. This former education authority are referred to here as the host education authority; the latter are the home education authority. The home education authority may enter into arrangements with another education authority, and arrange for that child or young person to be educated in a school in that host education authority, in order that the home education authority can discharge their duties under the Act. In such circumstances, the home education authority are responsible for the school education of the child or young person including being responsible for establishing whether that child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan, for preparing the plan, as necessary, and for keeping under consideration the adequacy of any plan so prepared.

9. However, where a child or young person is attending a school in an authority other than the home education authority as a result of a placing request, then it is the host education authority which are responsible for the school education of that child or young person. The host education authority are responsible for ensuring that they fulfil all their duties under the Act, as required, where an education authority are responsible for the school education of a child or young person. These duties include being responsible for establishing whether that child or young person requires a co-ordinated support and for preparing the plan, as necessary.

s10(1)

10. Children and young people who have been placed in independent or grant-aided schools, by their parents or others, or are being educated at home, and for whose school education the authority are not responsible, are not eligible to have a co-ordinated support plan. In these circumstances, parents, children who have attained the age of 12 (and who have capacity to make the request) or the young person may ask the education authority to establish whether the child or young person has additional support needs, or would require a co-ordinated support plan, if the authority were responsible for the school education of the child or young person. The education authority may comply with the request but are not obliged to do so. Managers of independent and grant-aided schools may also request the education authority to establish if the child or young person would require a co-ordinated support plan, if the authority were responsible for the school education of the child or young person. Again, the education authority may comply with the request but are not obliged to do so.

s7

Additional support needs arising from complex and/or multiple factors

11. To have a co-ordinated support plan a child or young person must have additional support needs arising from one or more complex factors or multiple factors and these needs must be likely to continue for more than a year. It should be noted that while the need for support arising from these factors should be likely to continue for more than a year the Act does not require that the "significant additional support" provided (see practical examples in Annex C) must last for more than a year.

s2(1)(b) and (c)

12. As noted in chapter 2 there is a wide range of factors which may lead to children and young people having additional support needs. The factors may be grouped into broad overlapping themes arising from the learning environment, family circumstances, disability and health issues, and social and emotional factors.

s2(2)(a)

13. The Act states that a factor is a complex factor if it has, or is likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person. The Act does not define the length of time over which a complex factor has an effect (although the additional support needs arising from one or more complex factors have to be likely to last for more than a year for a child or young person to require a co-ordinated support plan), nor does the Act define the term "significant adverse effect". However, since a complex factor is one that has a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person, it is likely that it will affect most aspects of learning. Some examples of complex factors grouped according to the above themes could be the following:

  • Learning environment - where the learning and teaching approaches and/or overall curriculum are significantly different from what the child or young person requires and are thus having a significant adverse effect on his/her school education. This may arise where the child or young person is attending a particular mainstream school and the learning and teaching approaches available there cannot, for whatever reasons, be suitably adapted to take account of the child's or young person's learning needs. In this example, a special school may provide a more effective education. Alternatively, a child or young person in an integrated class, enhanced provision, special unit or special school may require to be placed in a mainstream school. Or, the child or young person may have severe dyslexia which is having a significant effect on his/her ability to access the curriculum and, because the appropriate measures have not been put in place, this is adversely affecting the child's or young person's progress in school.
  • Family circumstances - where family life is disrupted, perhaps through parental alcohol, drug or domestic abuse or mental health problems, and the child or young person is not receiving the parental support, direction and guidance needed to make the most of school education. Or, where for example, the child is looked after either at home or away from home, or, school attendance is very poor and is adversely affecting educational progress. The family may be under stress from external factors such as poverty, familial imprisonment, or social circumstances which are impacting on the child's or young person's school education.
  • Disability or health - where the child or young person faces barriers to learning and development from, for example, blindness, or a physical disability such as cerebral palsy or other condition such as autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment or developmental co-ordination disorder and requires measures to be put in place if the child or young person is to benefit from school education. In addition, some children or young people with a mental health problem such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression or anorexia may experience significant or frequent disruption to their school education.
  • Social and emotional factors - children or young people may have social and emotional difficulties, such as bereavement or loss. Under stress, they can exhibit behaviour difficulties which may lead to offending. They may be being bullied, which prevents them attending school regularly, developing positive relatonships with school staff and other young people or engaging effectively with their learning..

14. Multiple factors are factors which are not by themselves complex factors but, when taken together, have or are likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person. For example, a child may have a mild sensory impairment (disability or health), live in disadvantaged social circumstances where there are parental relationship difficulties, unemployment and low income (family circumstances) and may not be receiving appropriate education (learning environment) which takes account of the sensory impairment. Each of these taken separately may not have a significant adverse effect on the education of the child or young person, but the cumulative effect of these multiple factors is such that the school education of the child or young person is being adversely affected to a significant degree.

s2(2)(b)

15. In all cases it is how the factors impact on the child's learning and development that is important and it is assessment which determines this. Those well placed to decide whether or not factors are complex or multiple are those working with the child or young person, as well as the parents, and of course the child or young person. What may be complex, or multiple, factors with a significant adverse effect for one child or young person may not be for another. It is the effect of the factor(s) on school education that is important, not any diagnostic label alone. Every child or young person should be considered on an individual basis.

A co-ordinated support plan may not need to last throughout a child's or young person's school career

Adam has a specific language impairment which had led to a co-ordinated support plan being prepared during his pre-school year. He maintained a shared placement between mainstream primary school and a language unit and for the first three years of his primary schooling. During this time his needs required a high degree of co-ordination amongst the professionals involved and he received significant support from a speech and language therapist. In P4 he attended his primary school full time supported by an outreach teacher and a speech and language therapist. In working with the speech and language therapist, the school staff were able to develop new skills and appropriate strategies within class to meet his needs. At the next review of the coordinated support plan, it became clear that significant support from outwith education was no longer necessary and there was no longer a need for a co-ordinated support plan. The co-ordinated support plan was discontinued.

Additional support needs likely to continue for more than a year

16. As noted above, in addition to deciding on whether the criteria of complex or multiple factors are met, professionals involved with the children and young people must determine for how long those additional support needs are likely to last. For a co-ordinated support plan to be required the view must be that these needs are likely to continue for more than a year. Importantly, although the need for additional support must last for more than a year there is no requirement under the Act for the additional support provided to last for more than a year if it is no longer needed.

s2(1)(c)

Significant additional support

17. These additional support needs must also require the provision of significant additional support from an education authority, and (a) the local authority exercising their functions other than education ( e.g. social work services) and/or (b) one or more appropriate agency/agencies [47] , within the meaning of the Act and the associated Regulations [48] , if a co-ordinated support plan is to be required. One purpose of the co-ordinated support plan is to ensure that support is co-ordinated effectively when at least one service is required from outwith what the education authority provides as part of its educational functions. It is not unusual for health and social work service staff to be working in specialist provisions supporting children and young people with additional support needs and for questions to arise as to whether their support can be included under (a) and/or (b) above. The position is as follows:

  • where the health staff are employed through an NHS Board, whether or not the education authority contribute financially to their costs of working in school education, then they count as belonging to an appropriate agency under the Act and are included under (b) above
  • where the health staff are not employed through an NHS Board but are employed directly by the manager of an independent special school or education authority then they do not belong to an appropriate agency under the Act
  • where the social work staff are employed by the local authority for the children and young people for whose school education the education authority are responsible then as far as the Act is concerned they are included under (a) above
  • where the social work staff are not employed through a local authority but are employed directly by the school managers then they are not included under (a) above.

18. The Act does not define what "significant additional support" means but the issue has been considered in the Tribunal and courts. In particular, the opinion delivered by Lord Nimmo Smith in the Inner House of the Court of Session in the case of JT is particularly relevant and is binding here [49] . The use of the term "significant" signals that the scale of the support provided, whether it is in terms of approaches to learning and teaching ( e.g. adaptation or elaboration of the curriculum) or personnel (eg provision of learning support assistant) or resources (eg specialist aid to communication or a special hoist), or a combination of these, stands out from the continuum of possible additional support. Significant additional support may be provided to a child or young person with additional support needs on an individual basis, in a group setting with others or through personnel working under the direction and guidance of those from the appropriate agency. The issue of significance thus refers to the extent of the provision. Judgments about significance have to be made taking account of the frequency, nature, intensity and duration of the support and the extent to which that support needs to be coordinated and is necessary for the achievement of the educational objectives which will be included in the plan. In particular, the support must be of sufficient duration to make it worthwhile preparing a co-ordinated support plan in order to ensure that it is co-ordinated properly.

19. Where a child has several professionals involved from the one appropriate agency, such as from an NHS Board, then the cumulative effect of these professionals' involvement may amount to significant additional support from that agency even although the input from each professional individually is not significant. For example, a child may receive speech and language therapy and physiotherapy on a regular basis. Taken separately the additional support from each individual professional may not be significant but taken together their contribution may represent significant additional support from the NHS Board as an appropriate agency. A similar argument could apply to additional support provided by the education authority exercising its functions other than education. For example social work and occupational therapy from the local authority social work services may amount to significant additional support when considered together but not when considered separately. In considering the significance of the additional support then it is important to consider cumulatively what an appropriate agency is providing.

20. In Annex C a grid is provided with some case study examples which may prove useful in considering the issue of significance. Full-time placement in a special school or unit would count as significant additional support from the education authority, as would provision of personnel full-time to support a child or young person in a mainstream school, and provision of specialist aids to communication. However, judgements about whether children or young people meet the requirements for a having a co-ordinated support plan have to be taken on a individual basis applying all the criteria of the legal test, not just the one criterion of whether the additional support required is significant.

21. Where a child or young person is looked after and living away from home in a special school then that is certainly significant additional support. Where support is required from social work services to sustain the child's or young person's attendance at the school, and hence to enable him or her to achieve their educational objectives (see below), than that is likely to count as significant additional support (from the education authority exercising their functions other than education). In these circumstances, it is likely that the child or young person would require a co-ordinated support plan provided the other criteria are met. However, it is not possible to generalise as to what should count as significant and consideration has to be given to circumstances in individual cases.

22. The following diagram provides a decision tree to help authorities to decide whether children and young people require a co-ordinated support plan. It should be read in conjunction with the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [50] . This chart should be read as relevant to all appropriate agencies.

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

Is a co-ordinated support plan required?

Seeking and taking account of views and providing information

23. When considering whether or not a co-ordinated support plan may be required, or in preparing such a plan, an education authority must seek and take account of relevant advice and information (including assessments) from appropriate agencies and other persons (for example, voluntary organisations) whom they think are appropriate. This advice and information may be, for example, from health services. The education authority must also take account of advice and information available from sources within the authority, other than from education. Such a source is most likely to be the authority's own social work services. They must also take account of information provided to them by, or on behalf of, the child or young person. For example, if the parents have privately commissioned an assessment or report on the child or young person, or the young person has commissioned the report himself/herself, then the authority must take that report or advice into consideration if it is provided to them. Also, the authority must seek and take account of the views of children and their parents, and young people themselves, throughout the process.

s12(2)

24. If an education authority identify a child or young person as requiring a co-ordinated support plan it is expected that the parents would want to, and will, participate in its preparation. Almost all parents are keen to do what is best for their child and work together in co-operation with education authorities. In some cases, parents may be concerned about the assessment process and may not wish to participate. If the parent will not co-operate with the assessment process the education authority will require to decide whether they have enough information available to prepare a co-ordinated support plan. This is also the case where a child, or a parent on their behalf where the child lacks the capacity to consent, has refused to give consent to a medical assessment or examination. For most children or young people who require a co-ordinated support plan there will be detailed information available. Education authorities are still obliged to draw up co-ordinated support plans even where parents disagree that one should be prepared or where they refuse to co-operate. In circumstances where the parents disagree that a co-ordinated support plan is required it is open to them to refer the authority's decision to the Tribunal.

s2(4) Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991

25. Where an education authority propose to establish whether any child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan they must, before proceeding, inform the parents (or eligible child or young person). They must also inform the managers of independent or grant-aided schools, where they are responding to a request by them to establish whether a child or young person would require a co-ordinated support plan if the education authority were responsible for the child or young person's school education. When they have reached a view on whether a co-ordinated support plan is required the authority must also inform these persons about their conclusions and any rights to make a reference to the Tribunal regarding the authority's conclusions.

s11(1), (2) and (3)

Requesting an assessment

26. As described in chapter 3, where an education authority are responsible for the school education of a child or young person they must meet requests made by a parent, child who has attained the age of 12 years (where they have capacity to make such a request) or young person to establish whether any child or young person has additional support needs, or requires a co-ordinated support plan, unless the request is unreasonable.

27. Where an education authority are not responsible for the school education of a child or young person they may meet requests made by the parents, child who has attained the age of 12 years (where they have capacity to make such a request) young person or managers of an independent or grant-aided school to establish whether the child or young person would, if the education authority were responsible for the school education of the child or young person, require a co-ordinated support plan.

28. In the circumstances in the previous two paragraphs above, those making the request will be expected to provide sufficient information to explain why they think assessment is required. The education authority must notify the parents or young person or child, or the managers of the independent or grant-aided school (as appropriate), of a decision not to comply with the request. In the case of a child or young person for whose school education they are responsible, before proceeding the education authority must notify the parents or the young person, of their proposal to establish whether the child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan. In the case of a child or young person for whose school education the education authority are not responsible then where the education authority decide that a co-ordinated support plan would have been required, if they were responsible for the child's or young person's school education, they must provide the person who made the request with such information and advice about the child's or young person's additional support needs as they consider appropriate.

s28(2)
s7

29. Education authorities should notify the person making the request of either decision as quickly as possible but certainly no later than 8 weeks from when the request is received (see paragraph 37 below).

30. Where an education authority are responsible for the school education of a child or young person then their decision not to comply with a request to establish whether a co-ordinated support plan is required is treated as a decision of the education authority that the child or young person does not require a co-ordinated support plan. In notifying the parents or young person of their decision, they must also notify them of their right to make a reference to the Tribunal. A reference to the Tribunal can only be made where an education authority are responsible for the school education of the child or young person.

s18(5)
s28(2)(d)

31. Where a parent or young person or child has requested that the authority establish whether the child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan and the authority have not responded to that request within 8 weeks the Act, as amended, provides that the failure to respond is treated as if it was a decision by the education authority that no co-ordinated support plan is required. In these circumstances the parent or young person or child (who has attained the age of 12 years who has capacity to do so) can refer to the Tribunal the authority's deemed refusal to prepare a co-ordinated support plan. This 8 week timescale can be extended to 16 weeks where the request is made during a school holiday period of 4 weeks or more.

s18(5A)

32. Also, where an authority have notified a parent, child who has attained the age of 12or young person that they will establish whether the child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan but, after 16 weeks following that notification, the authority have not made a decision on the matter either way, the Act, as amended, enables that failure to be treated as if it were a decision of the education authority that no co-ordinated support plan is required. Decisions of an authority that no co-ordinated support plan is required can be referred to the Tribunal.

s18(5B)

33. Where an education authority propose to establish whether a child or young person has additional support needs or requires a co-ordinated support plan they must also comply with a request for an assessment or examination made by the parent or young person or child over the age of 12 years where the authority is satisfied that the child over 12 years of age has capacity to make the request, unless the request is unreasonable; as noted earlier, the Act, as amended, allows this request to be made at any time, not just when establishing whether a child or young person has additional support needs or requires a co-ordinated support plan. The parent or young person or child can request that the education authority arrange for the child or young person, referred to in the proposal, to undergo a process of educational, medical, psychological or other type of assessment or examination (or a combination of these) for the purposes of establishing if there is a requirement for a co-ordinated support plan. The managers of independent or grant-aided schools may request an assessment or examination where an education authority propose to establish whether a child or young person has additional support needs or a child or young person would require a co-ordinated support plan if the education authority were responsible for the child or young person's school education.

s8(1)
s8A
s7(2)(b)

34. Educational assessments are an intrinsic part of day-to-day practice in schools. All staff in schools are involved in the use of a variety of assessment approaches. For example, teachers assessing in health and wellbeing will take account of the wide range of learning experiences of children and young people in developing knowledge and understanding of their mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. Education authorities should consider these when deciding whether a request for any additional or particular assessment or examination, not already contained in the proposal for establishing if there is a requirement for a coordinated support plan, is reasonable. They should consider also any other available assessments (for example, health or social work) and decide whether there is any requirement or need for further detail.

Preparing a co-ordinated support plan
Preparing a co-ordinated support plan

35. The flow diagram above describes the steps which may be taken to draw up a co-ordinated support plan. It is essential that the plan is prepared having sought and taken account of, and recorded on the plan where appropriate, the views of:

  • the parents and child (unless the authority are satisfied that the child lacks capacity to express a view)
  • the young person
  • representatives of those appropriate agencies, and any others, providing support.

36. Education authorities should have clear arrangements for joint working with those appropriate agencies and others involved in supporting children and young people with additional support needs [51] . These should include the arrangements under which support specified in the co-ordinated support plan can be approved and provided by the authority itself and appropriate agencies.

Timescale for responding to requests and drawing up the plan where one is required

Timescale for responding to requests and drawing up the plan where one is required

37. Once the parent or young person or child has requested the education authority to establish whether the child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan the authority have 8 weeks to respond to the request. At this stage the education authority do not have to provide the parent or young person with a decision on whether or not they will prepare a co-ordinated support plan. The education authority have simply, within that 8 week period, to inform the parent or young person that they will deal with the request. Failure to respond to the request is treated as if it is a decision of the education authority not to prepare a co-ordinated support plan. In these circumstances, the parent or young person or child (where the child has attained the age of 12 years and where the Tribunal consider they have capacity to do so) can make a reference to the Tribunal regarding the education authority's decision not to prepare a co-ordinated support plan.

s18(5A)
s18(3)(b)

38. An education authority have 16 weeks, from the date they have notified the parent, child who has attained the age of 12 years (who has capacity to make the request) or young person that they intend to establish whether or not the child or young person requires a co-ordinated support plan, to inform the parent or young person of their decision either way. The date is the date on which information about the proposal is sent by the education authority. The education authority may ask an appropriate agency for advice. As noted in chapter 3 paragraph 18, the Appropriate Agency Request Period and Exceptions Regulations [52] made under the Act specify that appropriate agencies are expected to respond to requests for help within 10 weeks from the date the request is made by the education authority, subject to certain exceptions stated there. Within the 16 week timescale education authorities have to:

  • seek and take account of the views and information provided
  • consider whether the child or young person meets the criteria for having a co-ordinated support plan
  • reach a decision
  • notify the parents or young person or eligible child of the outcome
  • prepare the plan, if it has been established that one is required.

39. Where the education authority decide that a co-ordinated plan is required they must identify the educational objectives to be achieved, the support required and identify and liaise with the appropriate agencies and other persons that will provide the support. They must within the 16 week timescale produce a completed co-ordinated support plan as set out in the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [53] .

40. An education authority 's proposal for establishing whether a co-ordinated support plan is required should also inform parents or young people or eligible child about:

  • the agencies, other departments of the authority and other people from whom the education authority propose to seek views, advice and information
  • any proposed assessments or examinations
  • their right to request particular assessment (s) relevant to the proposal
  • their right to provide advice and information relevant to the proposal

    s8

  • their involvement in the process

    s11

  • a proposed timescale for the process

    s12

  • their rights under the Act to make a reference to the Tribunal regarding the education authority 's decision about whether or not a co-ordinated support plan is required
  • their right to make a placing request if they disagree with the school nominated in any plan prepared.
  • (Children over the age of 12 do not share the right to make a placing request)

41. Most children and young people being considered for requiring a co-ordinated support plan will previously be known to the education authority. Consideration for a co-ordinated support plan will have arisen from monitoring the child's or young person's additional support needs and his or her ability to benefit from the school education being provided. In most cases, education authorities would be expected to be able to reach a decision fairly quickly as to whether a co-ordinated support plan is required. There will be situations where reaching a decision will take longer, for example, where the child or young person has moved to the authority area from outwith Scotland and limited information is available, or where an appropriate agency cannot comply with a request for help quickly.

42. It will be in an education authority 's best interests to ensure that the information about the proposal is as detailed as possible and that action is taken promptly to get the process underway, such as through contacting appropriate agencies, or others as appropriate, to seek and prepare to take account of information, advice or help. It is expected that the authority will have reached a decision and notified the parent, child who has attained the age of 12 years (who has capacity to make the request) or young person as soon as possible.

43. The statutory 16 week period ends on the date on which the education authority give the child's parents or the young person or eligible child a copy of the completed co-ordinated support plan. This date is the date a copy of the co-ordinated support plan is sent by the education authority to the parent or young person by post and/or email. In good practice education authorities will confirm receipt of a co-ordinated support plan with the parent or young person. Alternatively, the statutory 16 week period ends on the date on which the education authority notify the child's parents or young person that they do not intend to prepare a co-ordinated support plan.

44. As in paragraph 32 above, if the authority have notified the parents or young person that they intend to establish whether or not a co-ordinated support is required and after 16 weeks have not made a decision on the matter either way then that failure will be treated as if the authority have decided that a co-ordinated support plan is not required. Eligible children, parents and young person are able then to refer that decision to the Tribunal (provided the Tribunal assess the child has having capacity to make the reference.

Time limit exceptions

45. While an education authority will be expected to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the time limit is complied with, there will be circumstances outwith the education authority's control which make compliance impracticable. The Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [54] , therefore, set out the circumstances where it would be considered impracticable for an education authority to meet the usual 16 week timescale. The exceptions cover circumstances relating to both the establishing and preparing phases of the overall process. These include where:

  • the child's parent or the young person or an eligible child has made a request for a particular type of assessment or examination and that cannot take place, or the results will not be available, before the end of the 16 week period
  • the education authority have asked an appropriate agency or other persons for help and they have not been able to respond in time.

46. When an education authority become aware that the 16 week time limit is unlikely to be met, they must explain to the child's parents or the young person or the eligible child the reason for the delay and must set a new date for completion of the process. The Regulations require that the new time limit should not exceed the standard 16 weeks by longer than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances, which in any event must not be more than 24 weeks from the start date (see paragraph 38 above). This is to allow for the individual circumstances surrounding the delay to be taken into consideration and to allow an appropriate new timetable to be set in the light of these.

47. A parent, eligible child (that has capacity to make a reference) or young person can make a reference to the Tribunal where, once it has been established that the child or young person does require a coordinated support plan, the education authority fail to prepare a plan by the 16 weeks statutory time limit unless one of the exceptions apply. Education authorities should have regard to this when considering applying any of the time limit exceptions. In some cases an education authority may have to proceed to reach a decision about the requirement for a co-ordinated support plan, or the actual content of a plan, on the basis of the information available.

18(3)(c)

What does a co-ordinated support plan contain?

48. The Act and associated Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [55] set out the form and content for a co‑ordinated support plan. The statutory parts of the plan and prescribed decisions, failure or information can be referred to the Tribunal for review. Plans must contain:

s9(2)(a)

  • the education authority 's conclusions as to the factor or factors from which the additional support needs of the child or young person arise
  • the educational objectives intended to be achieved taking account of those factors
  • the additional support required to achieve these objectives
  • details of those who will provide this support.

The plan must also contain:

s9(2)(b), (c) and (d)

  • the name of the school the child or young person is to attend
  • the details of the person who will co-ordinate the additional support identified in the plan, or the details of any person nominated by the education authority to carry out the co-ordinator function, if not an education authority official
  • the details of a contact person within the local authority from whom the child, parent or young person can obtain advice and further information, in the case of a plan prepared following a request mentioned in section 6(2), 7(2)(a) or 10(4) for a child who has attained the age of 12 and who the authority is satisfied has capacity in relation to advice or further information.

49. The plan should be clear and succinct, and refer to needs that will, or are likely to, continue for more than a year. Short-term objectives would continue to be contained within personal learning planning or an individualised educational programme or other plan. In cases where there is an individualised educational programme or other planning approach in place, the co-ordinated support plan should refer to these but not duplicate the content of the plans unless this is required to meet the statutory requirements for the plan. Some may wish to use an individualised educational programme to break down objectives in a coordinated support plan into small steps to guide day-to-day learning and teaching. What is important is that the co-ordinated support plan contains those educational objectives which require the various forms of support to be coordinated if the educational objectives are to be achieved.

50. The co-ordinated support plan also contains other details in addition to those required by the Act and the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [56] . These are:

  • specified biographical and contact details of the child or young person
  • specified contact details for the parents (s) or those adults who have, or share, responsibility for the care of the child or young person
  • a profile - the purpose of this is to build a holistic pen picture of the child or young person. It should focus on the positive aspects of the child's/young person's life, for example, his/her skills and capabilities. It may also include information about the school attended or curriculum, other planning in place, his/her favourite activities, or how he/she likes to learn
  • parents ' and child's/young person's comments on any aspects of the coordinated support plan process as well as the plan itself
  • a review timetable.

51. While the co-ordinated support plan details the factors giving rise to the child's or young person's additional support needs, the plan does not contain all the multi-agency reports, including assessment/examination reports that contributed to the education authority reaching these conclusions. How or where this information is kept or shared is a matter for all the professionals involved to consider while bearing in mind that some of this information may be sensitive or could cause distress to the child or young person or other family members. However, it is clearly important that the content of the plan is informed by these reports so that it takes good account of multi-agency views.

52. A co-ordinated support plan template containing guidance notes can be found at Annex B. It should be noted that the Regulations state that the plan must "..be in the form set out in the Schedule to these Regulations or a form substantially to the same effect..". In other words, education authorities have some scope to change how the co-ordinated support plan is presented provided the basic outline and purpose of the plan are maintained.

The factors giving rise to additional support needs

53. This part of the plan must state the complex factor or factors, or multiple factors giving rise to additional support needs. In some cases, the factors may be diagnostic terms such as autism spectrum disorder, learning disability or clinical depression. In other cases, the factor or factors may be more descriptive and related directly to the personal circumstances of the child or young person and family.

s9(2) (a)(i)

54. It should be clear from the assessment information which underpins the co-ordinated support plan what the complex and/or multiple factors are and how these are influencing the development of the child or young person and his/her ability to benefit from school education. All the complex and/or multiple factors involved should be stated in the co-ordinated support plan. The factors triggering the requirement for a co-ordinated support plan need to have, or be likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the school education of the child or young person.

The factors giving rise to additional support needs

Educational objectives

55. The co-ordinated support plan is designed to enable children or young people to work towards achieving their educational objectives within the meaning of the Act. School education, within the meaning of the Act, includes, in particular, education directed towards the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential. Educational objectives should be set to secure that the child or young person benefits from the school education provided or to be provided. The objectives will cover relevant experiences beyond the classroom including those in the community. They should be viewed in the widest sense as encompassing a holistic view of the child or young person. They should be specific to the child or young person and his or her additional support needs.

s9(3)

56. Educational objectives, for example, may include those required for personal achievement or for health and wellbeing. For some children or young people, legitimate educational objectives could be, for example, learning to travel independently or learning particular social skills concerned with, say, feeding or dressing. What is important is that the plan contains those educational objectives which require the various forms of support to be co-ordinated if the educational objectives are to be achieved. For example, a teacher and speech and language therapist may need to ensure their support is well co-ordinated if the educational objectives to be achieved are related to improving the communication skills of a child with an autism spectrum disorder; a teacher and residential social worker may need to work together to ensure that a child looked after away from home is able to complete schoolwork assignments outwith school.

57. The educational objectives in the co-ordinated support plan must take account of the factor or factors giving rise to the child's or young person's additional support needs. The objectives will require the co-ordination of services if they are to be achieved. Children and young people will always be working to achieve other learning outcomes which are not documented in the plan and these will be outcomes which do not depend, for their achievement, on the level of co-ordination of support required by the plan. For example, a particular child with a co-ordinated support plan may have intended learning outcomes set for, say, language and mathematics and, apart from the usual support from the family, the school may feel that these will be achieved without any support from other agencies. These learning objectives will be documented through other school planning arrangements such as personal learning planning, an individualised educational programme, or another approach used by the school and will not be listed in the co-ordinated support plan.

58. Decisions about what are appropriate educational objectives to be achieved to enable the child or young person to benefit from school education should be taken independently of the additional support required to achieve these objectives and should be informed by the assessment information available. The starting point should be to establish what it is reasonable to expect the child or young person to achieve over the course of the next year, taking account of the assessment information available. The objectives should be described in terms that are specific enough to enable the education authority, and the other agencies involved in supporting the child or young person, to monitor and review progress over time. However, they should not be so overly specific that they narrow and constrain what should be learned. When setting an objective, a question that needs to be answered is "How will we know the objective has been achieved?" Since each coordinated support plan has to be reviewed on, at least, an annual basis then the objectives should be those which can be achieved in a year approximately or for which progression milestones will be identifiable within the year.

59. Annex C contains some examples of educational objectives. Those drawing up the educational objectives will find it useful to consider as a starting point the Experiences and Outcomes in Curriculum for Excellence because these apply across all schools in Scotland and are relevant for all children and young people as they pursue their school education.

The additional support required by the child or young person

60. The co-ordinated support plan must describe the additional support required to achieve the educational objectives stated. This support should include any short-term support provided so that its impact on the achievement of the educational objectives can be determined. The additional support will cover teaching and other staffing arrangements, appropriate facilities and resources, including information and communications technology, and any particular approaches to learning and teaching or forming positive relationships. It will also include any provision made outwith the educational setting but which will contribute to the child or young person achieving his/her educational objectives. The statement of support to be provided should be clear and specific and, wherever possible, should be quantified. Everyone should understand and be clear about what is being provided and why it is being provided. Statements such as "learning support as necessary" or "speech and language therapy as required" are too vague to be helpful. Statements such as the following provide a clearer idea about what is being provided:

s9(2)(a) (iii)

  • a named voluntary agency commissioned by social work services to provide group work in school for two hours per week, approximately, for one term
  • attendance at a day mental health hospital facility for three afternoons a week continuing during school holidays.
  • speech and language therapist and classroom assistant will provide weekly therapy within a small group setting for six weeks followed by a specific programme being supported within the mainstream curriculum by the teacher and classroom assistant with a review of outcomes at the end of term.

The persons by whom the support is provided

61. The plan must state the "persons" who should be providing the support. What is meant here are the agencies or professions providing the support, not the actual names of individuals. So, for example, terms such as "visiting teacher of the deaf", "speech and language therapist", "social worker", "clinical psychologist", and "Skills Development Scotland" are acceptable terms. It is neither desirable, nor necessary, to name, for example, the speech and language therapist, since while personnel may change the additional support provided need not.

s9(2)(a) (iv)

The nominated school

62. The plan must state the name and address of the school it is intended that the child or young person will attend. If a child or young person is being educated at home under arrangements made by the education authority the plan must state this.

s9(2) (b)

The details of the person providing advice in the education authority

63. The plan must state the name, address and telephone number of the person in the education authority responsible for providing advice and further information about the co-ordinated support plan to parents and young people.

s9(2)(d)

The contact details of the co-ordinator

64. The plan should state the name, address and telephone number of the person responsible for co-ordinating the provision. The authority can arrange for another person to discharge their co-ordination responsibility and, if so, must provide their nominee's contact details.

s9(2)(c)

Role of co-ordinator

65. The co-ordinator is the person responsible for monitoring provision to ensure that the services required to deliver the additional support identified in the co-ordinated support plan are in place for the child or young person and for taking action to secure services when necessary. The co-ordinator may be the Lead Professional or Named Person working with the family under the Getting it right for every child approach. Once a plan has been agreed, the co-ordinator should ensure that parents, young people and all those involved in providing additional support know what is required of them under the plan. The Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations make provision for necessary information sharing between appropriate agencies and other parties to enable each to do their part in delivering the necessary support to meet the needs of the child or young person. The co-ordinator and anyone intending to share personal information about the child, young person or their family must consider how the Regulations and the wider legal framework for information sharing apply in each individual case.

66. The co-ordinator should be aware of the objectives set out in the plan and be closely involved in working with the team who support the child or young person. The co-ordinator should know the procedures to follow if there is a break in the delivery of necessary services to fulfil educational objectives. For example, if support from external services breaks down due to staff ill health or absence, the co-ordinator must then liaise with the relevant agency to seek to ensure a replacement of services without undue interruption to the provision of those services.

67. The co-ordinator should note that the Act, as amended, enables parents , children who have attained the age of 12 years (who have capacity to do so) and young persons to make references to the Tribunal where there is a failure by the education authority to provide, or make arrangements for the provision of, the additional support contained in a co-ordinated support plan which is necessary for the child or young person to achieve their educational objectives. The Act, as amended, enables the Tribunal to require the education authority to take action to rectify the failure by the authority to provide, or make arrangements for the provision of, the additional support contained in a co-ordinated support plan which is necessary for the child or young person to achieve their educational objectives. It also enables the Tribunal to specify a timescale within which such action must be taken.

s18(3)(d) (iii)
s19(3)

The role of the co-ordinator

Danny is 10 years old and is looked after away from home and placed with foster carers. He exhibits behaviour difficulties in all situations and requires a high degree of co-ordinated support, for which a co-ordinated support plan is in place. Danny's attendance at school is becoming increasingly erratic and he displays increasingly confrontational behaviour in class, leading to the possibility of exclusion from school. His class teacher asks his co-ordinator and Named Person to find out if there is anything happening in Danny's home-life that may be affecting him. The co-ordinator's enquiries of colleagues in the multi-agency team reveal that the family support package has broken down following the departure of his social worker. The co-ordinator contacts the local social work manager and highlights the current difficult situation stressing the need for urgent support.

As an interim measure, the social work manager arranges for Danny to receive support from a children's service worker who has a base at the school. The worker is able to work on a one to one basis with Danny with the aim of calming him down sufficiently, to return to his mainstream class. The school also increases the level of in class support from a classroom assistant. The co-ordinator has arranged to meet with the social work manager in a month's time to review the situation.

68. In addition, the co-ordinator should:

  • maintain regular contact with the child or young person and his/her family
  • be familiar with the school within which the child's or young person's needs are met
  • have a working knowledge of relevant service policies and practices
  • have experience of working with children and young people with additional support needs
  • have experience of compiling and implementing educational support plans ( e.g. individualised educational programmes) or health and care plans
  • understand the roles and ways of working of other agencies so that partnership working is seen as core business
  • to consult and work with the child's Named Person.

Who can be a co-ordinator?

69. The education authority will appoint a co-ordinator, and this person could be from any agency contributing to the plan, but need not be. The choice of coordinator will depend on the nature of the additional support needs and the provision to be put in place for the child or young person. The Act does not require the education authority to have the parent's, child or young person's agreement to the person appointed as co-ordinator. However, it would be difficult to envisage how a co-ordinator could fulfil his/her role without having the confidence of the parent , child or young person. Education authorities should seek and take account of the views of the parent, child and young person when considering appointment of the co-ordinator. The co-ordinator may change in the light of circumstances, for example at transition from one stage of education to another. Where practicable, changes should be kept to a minimum. Where the co-ordinator does change, the co-ordinated support plan must be amended and details circulated. The parent, eligible child or young person should receive a copy of the updated plan.

70. There are several stages in the preparation of a co-ordinated support plan. These include the discussion which results in the decision to prepare a co-ordinated support plan, the drawing up of the plan, the authorisation of the plan and the co-ordination to ensure the services are available. The co-ordinator could be appointed at any of these stages depending on the procedures in the local authority. Throughout the parent, young person or child should be kept fully informed as to the name and contact details for the person responsible for drawing up the plan, see flowchart following paragraph 34.

Review of the co-ordinated support plan

71. The Act requires that the education authority responsible for the school education of child or young person must keep under consideration the adequacy of each co-ordinated support plan and must formally review each plan at least every 12 months, making appropriate amendments, as necessary. The education authority must have completed the review within 12 weeks of the expiry date which is the anniversary of the date on which the plan was prepared unless any of the various exceptions apply as prescribed in the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [57] . A failure to carry out the review and to meet statutory timescales can be referred to the Tribunal.

s10(2)

72. Education authorities should ensure that an appropriate review schedule is in place for each plan and that the appropriate agencies, and parents, eligible child or young person, receive sufficient advance notice of review meetings as appropriate. Paragraphs 8 and 9 of this chapter describe the requirements where a child or young person is receiving school education in an education authority other than the one for the area to which the child or young person belongs.

73. Authorities may carry out a review earlier than 12 months if they feel it necessary or expedient to do so because of a significant change in the child's or young person's circumstances since the plan was prepared or last reviewed. Alternatively a child's parents, the eligible child or the young person may request a review before 12 months have elapsed and authorities must meet this request unless the request is unreasonable. An education authority has 4 weeks to respond to a request from a parent, the eligible child or young person to review a co-ordinated support plan (or 12 weeks where the request is made during a school holiday period of 4 weeks or more). Education authorities should give clear guidance to schools and their staff in this regard. Where, an education authority refuse a request under the Act, they must inform the person who made the request and provide reasons for their decision. They must also inform the person of the right to refer this refusal to the Tribunal.

s10(4)
s18(3) (d) (iv)

74. Before proceeding with any review, the education authority must notify the child's parents, the eligible child (where the review arises as a result of a request mentioned in section 6(2), 7(2)(a) or 10(4)) or the young person of their proposal and ask them for their views. Parents should be notified about what is likely to happen during the review, such as consideration of:

s11(1), (2) and (3)

  • how far the educational objectives have been met
  • the child's or young person's additional support needs
  • the setting of new educational objectives, the support required and the agencies responsible for providing it.

75. The parents, child (aged 12 and over) and young person should also be informed of their right to request an assessment if they feel that what the authority is proposing does not include a particular assessment which they may feel is necessary. For example, a particular child may be receiving support from a physiotherapist and speech and language therapist. The parents may feel that an assessment by an occupational therapist and a clinical psychologist would be helpful and they could request the education authority to arrange this.

s8(1)(a) (ii) and (b)

76. Monitoring and review arrangements should be agreed amongst the professionals working with the child or family. A person who has regular contact with the child may be identified by the team to help the family to get the most out of the process. The co-ordinated support plan co-ordinator or contact person also has a role to play.

77. Following a review, the education authority must notify the child's parents, eligible child the young person, of the outcome and of their rights to make a reference to the Tribunal. If the plan has been amended as a result of the review (or subsequent to a requirement made by the Tribunal), the education authority must give a copy of the amended plan to the child's parents, the child (where the proposal arises as a result of a request under section 6(2), 7(2)(a) or 10(4)), or the young person as appropriate. The authority must then ensure that:

s11(5)

  • the additional support they have to provide, as recorded in the plan, is provided, insofar as they have the power to do this
  • the additional support others have to provide, as recorded in the plan, is provided, insofar as they have the power to do this
  • the support above is co-ordinated
  • all providing the support are informed about what the amended plan contains and the implications of this for them.

78. The Act, as amended, provides the Chamber President with the power to monitor the implementation of Tribunal decisions. Following a decision of theTribunal that requires an education authority to do anything, the Chamber President may require the authority to provide him/her with information about the authority's implementation of the Tribunal decision. This includes information about whether an authority has amended a co-ordinated support plan as required by theTribunal and carried out the action in paragraph 78 above.

Sch 1 11A

79. The Act also provides the Chamber President with the power to refer the matter to the Scottish Ministers where the Chamber President is satisfied that the authority are not complying with the Tribunal decision.The Chamber President may issue directions to the Tribunal in connection with the exercise by the Chamber President of that power. The Scottish Ministers, in turn, have the power to direct an education authority (or authorities) regarding the exercise of their functions under the Act. Authorities must comply with such a direction. For example, if an authority has failed to amend a co-ordinated support plan following the decision of theTribunal then it can be directed to do so by the Scottish Ministers.

Sch 1 11A and 12

s27(9), (10) and (11)

80. The arrangements described in paragraphs 75 and 78 for notifying parents, children who have attained the age of 12 years, and the young person about reviews and their outcomes apply also to the managers of independent or grant-aided schools where an authority have responded to their request to establish whether a child or young person would require a co-ordinated support plan if the education authority were responsible for the child or young person's school education

Custody, Transfer, Disclosure, Discontinuance, Preservation and Destruction of the co-ordinated support plan

81. Specific provisions for the custody, transfer, disclosure and discontinuance of co-ordinated support plans are contained in the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [58] . In the case of a co-ordinated support plan for a child or young person, requirements in the Act to notify the eligible child or young person or obtain his or her consent are satisfied by notifying or obtaining the consent of his or her parents where the education authority considers the young person lacks capacity or the child is assessed as not having capacity to consent.

Custody of the co-ordinated support plan

82. The education authority must keep a copy of a co-ordinated support plan, which they prepared, in a place the authority consider appropriate. This would normally be in the appropriate department at the authority's headquarters. The Act provides for an eligible child, the child's parents or the young person to receive a copy of the plan. However, they must also be told where they can inspect free of charge the authority's copy during normal business hours.

83. A copy of a co-ordinated support plan must also be kept at the school attended by the child or young person. How it is kept is a matter for the school to decide bearing in mind that it is a confidential document and should not be disclosed to anyone other than those authorised to see it or have copies of, or extracts from, it. The co-ordinated support plan will inform classroom planning and practice for the individual child or young person and forms part of the child's or young person's Pupil Progress Record.

Transfer of the co-ordinated support plan

84. When a child or young person with a co-ordinated support plan transfers, without any immediate intention of returning, from a school under the management of one education authority to a school under the management of another education authority, the education authority which prepared the coordinated support plan must [59] transfer it to the new education authority. This transfer must take place within 4 weeks from either the date of departure notified on which the child or young person will be moving or, if the child or young person has already left the area, from the date the original education authority become aware the move has taken place. This duty applies whether the transfer is a result of a successful placing request or where the child's parents (and child) or young person have moved to reside in the area of another local authority.

85. As soon as the plan is received, the new education authority must treat the plan as if they had prepared it and use it as the basis to provide for the child's or young person's additional support needs under the Act. As soon as reasonably practicable, the new education authority must notify the parents or, as appropriate, the young person of the transfer of the plan and inform them that, in future, responsibility for the co-ordinated support plan and for providing for the additional support needs of the child or young person rests with the new education authority. The new education authority must also inform the parents, eligible child or young person about the co-ordinator (Lead Professional or Named Person) within, or appointed by, the new education authority and the person within the new authority, from whom the parent or young person can obtain advice and further information. Where the child?, young person lacks the capacity to understand this information then his/her parents should be provided with it. In addition, any persons mentioned in the plan as providing support to the child or young person should be notified that the plan has been transferred to the new education authority and they must be provided with the same information provided to the parents, eligible child or young person, as above.

86. The Act, as amended, requires that where a child or young person with a co-ordinated support plan transfers to a school in the new authority, as a result of a placing request or simply because the parents have changed their home address, then the new authority are under a duty to seek and take account of information and advice from the education authority from which the co-ordinated support plan was transferred as well as from any agencies or persons involved in providing support under the co-ordinated support plan prior to its transfer. This ensures that the new authority and the previous authority responsible for the school education of the child or young person are in contact and that the new authority have all the information necessary from the previous authority and the agencies previously supporting the child or young person. This should aim to make the transition from one authority to another as smooth as possible.

s12(3A)

87. Where the transfer of the co-ordinated support plan has arisen because the child's parents (and child) or young person have moved to reside in the area of another local authority, then that local authority may, in good practice, wish to review the plan as soon as practicable, taking account of the provision in section 10 of the Act and in the Regulations. However, the position is different if the transfer of the plan has resulted from a successful out-of-area placing request. In these circumstances, the new host education authority are under a duty to review the plan. The Act, as amended, requires the new host authority to carry out a review of the co-ordinated support plan as soon as practicable after the date of any transfer of the co-ordinated support plan from the home authority to the host authority. Once the host authority have received the plan from the home education authority they must notify the child's parents or young person (or the young person's parents if he/she lacks the capacity to understand the information) that they propose to review the plan. This notification must take place as soon as reasonably practicable after they have received the plan from the home education authority. The home education authority then have 12 weeks from that date to conduct the review, unless it is not possible to meet this timescale as a result of the circumstances described in the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [60] .

s10(1)
s10(5A)

88. When a child or young person who has had a co-ordinated support plan in Scotland subsequently moves to England, Wales or Northern Ireland, the education authority which prepared the plan can disclose the plan or extracts from it to the relevant authority for that area, where the original authority considers it necessary to do so in the interests of the child or young person to whom the plan relates. Although the education authority do not have to seek the consent of the child's parents or the young person, it is recommended that they notify the parents, child who has attained the age of 12 years or young person of their intentions.

Disclosure of the co-ordinated support plan

89. The co-ordinated support plan is a confidential document but for it to be effective, and by its very nature, the plan or information in it will require to be shared with a range of people. While consideration must be given to the effect sharing certain information may have for the child or young person and their family the co-ordinated support plan should not be a document that is locked away and rarely referred to. As a strategic planning document it should be used and referred to on a regular basis.

90. When education authorities prepare or amend a co-ordinated support plan they must tell the people involved in providing additional support for the child or young person about matters in the plan as they consider appropriate.

91. However, there will be certain persons who would require to have a copy of the actual plan or extracts from it depending on different circumstances. The child's or young person's teacher will need a copy of the plan to help inform planning and monitoring of progress. The appropriate agencies and other persons providing support to help meet the educational objectives may only require to have the part of the co-ordinated support plan containing that information. Education authorities will have to make these decisions based on the individual circumstances of the child or young person.

92. In addition to those providing additional support to the child or young person, the Co-ordinated Support Plan Regulations [61] set out those persons to whom education authorities can disclose a co-ordinated support plan or extracts from it without seeking the consent of the child's parents or the young person. These include:

  • those people the education authority think it necessary in the interests of the child or young person
  • the person who will act as the co-ordinated support plan co-ordinator, Lead Professional and/or Named Person where that is not an education authority officer
  • HM Inspectors
  • the Principal Reporter.

93. In terms of good practice, however, it is recommended that education authorities notify parents or young people of their intention to share the plan or extracts and their reasons for disclosure. In making decisions about who should receive a copy of, or extracts from a co-ordinated support plan, education authorities must have regard to not only the Regulations but to the wider legislative framework that covers sharing information, such as the Data Protection Act 1998. Different legislation may apply depending on the individual circumstances of the child or young person, such as whether or not they have social work or health needs. The Resources section contains sources of guidance on information sharing.

94. In all other circumstances, education authorities must not disclose a coordinated support plan or extracts from it without first seeking the consent of the parents, child or young person. Education authorities should reserve the right to request the return of any copies or extracts of co-ordinated support plans.

Discontinuance, preservation and destruction of the co-ordinated support plan

95. Where a co-ordinated support plan is to be discontinued following a review, or where the education authority are no longer responsible for the child's or young person's school education, the discontinued plan must be preserved for a period of 5 years from the date of discontinuance. This date must be noted on the plan.

96. If the plan is to be discontinued following a review, the education authority must inform the eligible child, parents or young person of their decision. The education authority must not discontinue the plan before the expiry of the 2 month period parents and young people have in which to refer the decision to theTribunal.

97. At the end of the 5 year period the co-ordinated support plan must be destroyed. The education authority should notify the parents,eligible child or young person that this has happened as soon as reasonable practicable. It may be that after 5 years the whereabouts of the parents or young person are not known. If that is the case, the education authority should take reasonable steps to obtain contact details.

98. Where the Tribunal overturns the education authority's decision to prepare, or continue, a co-ordinated support plan, the education authority must notify the eligible child, child's parents or the young person as appropriate, when the plan will be discontinued and ask them to let the authority know within 21 days whether they want it to be preserved for a period of 5 years or not. If the answer is yes then the plan must be preserved. If the answer is no, or there is no response, the education authority must destroy the plan and let the eligible child, or parents of the child or young person know this has happened.

99. During the period that the co-ordinated support plan is preserved, the arrangements for disclosure described in paragraph 90 to 95 above continue to apply.

Getting it right for every child and the co-ordinated support plan

The Getting it right for every child approach

100. In the Getting it right for every child approach, any child or young person who requires additional help should have planning to address his/her needs and improve his/her wellbeing. This may be a single agency plan such as, for example, in education where a child may have an individualised educational programme because he/she needs support to overcome a learning difficulty. When two or more agencies are involved there will be a Child's Plan co-ordinated by a Lead Professional or Named Person.

101. Where necessary Getting it right for every child integrates and coordinates plans developed by different agencies. It looks to practitioners to work in accordance with legislation and guidance but also expects agencies to think beyond their immediate remit, drawing on the skills and knowledge of others as necessary and thinking in a broad, holistic way [62] . For example, a care plan for a child looked after by the local authority, a health care plan, or an individualised educational programme should be incorporated within the child's plan where the child's or young person's circumstances require this. An individual child or young person may have an action plan which incorporates the educational objectives in the co-ordinated support plan but which goes beyond these to address other aspects the child's or young person's development such as are encompassed by the Well-being Wheel as described in chapter 3. This means that a review of the child's plan avoids multiple meetings to review separate plans.

103.As specified by 2014 Act, subject to further regulations, a Child's Plan should in the Getting it right for every child approach include and record:

  • reasons for the plan
  • partners to the plan
  • the views of the child or young person and their parents or carers
  • a summary of the child or young person's needs
  • what is to be done to improve a child or young person's circumstances
  • details of action to be taken
  • resources to be provided
  • timescales for action and for change
  • contingency plans
  • arrangements for reviewing the plan
  • Lead Professional arrangements where they are appropriate
  • details of any compulsory measures if required.

Links with the co-ordinated support plan

102. The co-ordinated support plan is an educational plan which involves, and notes the commitments by, other agencies in providing significant additional support to enable the child or young person to benefit from education. It needs to be included along with the child's plan (or be readily extractable from the child's plan) as a stand alone document. The date of the co-ordinated support plan is based on the date it is sent to parents, children who have attained the age of 12 years and young person where appropriate. Education authorities must be able to produce this stand alone document to demonstrate adherence to legally specified processes and timescales and also because copies have to be made available to a range of people including parents, children, young people, HM Inspectors of education, the Tribunal and those whom the authority think should see the plan.

103. Clearly there are significant similarities between the contents of the Child's Plan and the co-ordinated support plan. However, one important difference is that the co-ordinated support plan is concerned with the additional support a child or young person requires in order to benefit from education. The child's plan, however, potentially covers a wider range of issues related to promoting a child's or young person's wellbeing and it will, therefore, refer to matters not contained in the co-ordinated support plan such as, for example, issues relating to compulsory care measures or child protection. However, it is important that the process of developing the co-ordinated support plan is integrated fully with the planning and review of the child's plan so that, for example, the annual review of the co-ordinated support plan dovetails with the review of the child's plan and so that assessment is carried out in a holistic way as illustrated by the My World Triangle in Chapter 3. As noted in paragraph 66, the co-ordinator may be the Lead Professional or Named Person working with the family under the Getting it right for every child approach.


Contact

Email: Emily McLean

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG