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MODERNISING SUPPORT FOR LEARNING

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Modernised ways of supporting pupils who need extra help in the classroom have been announced with the publication ...
Modernised ways of supporting pupils who need extra help in the classroom have been announced with the publication of the Education Additional Support for Learning Bill.

It will replace the existing Record of Needs system which, after 20 years, has become outdated and bureaucratic.

Instead, a new system of assessment and support will ensure that any child with additional support needs - ranging from severe disability or health problems to reading difficulties or additional needs because of a traumatic life event - gets the help they need.

Parents of pupils with existing Records of Needs have also been given a guarantee that there will be no loss of support services for their children as a result of the move from the old to the new system.

Education Minister Peter Peacock said: 'Every school in Scotland will receive leaflets for all parents which set out the provisions of the Bill and give access to the helpline to advise parents who want to know more.

'This bill is a further step in our plans to tailor the education system to the needs of every child. It will ensure more pupils get access to the support they need - not just from education services but from social work and health services.

'We want to build on the better aspects of the current Record of Needs system and build a more active and co-ordinated range of services for children who need them.

'This is a significant bill to improve support to pupils and I want to make it clear that existing pupils with a Records of Needs will continue to receive the support they require. I am writing today to all local authority chief executives to make that clear.

'We held an active consultation process which has helped improve the Bill from its original draft. The bill now has strengthened provisions for planning and preparing for post-school support, a new parental right to request a specific type of assessment and free mediation services for parents in the light of any disputes ove r learning support.

'Children get a school education only once and we are committed to delivering excellence in our schools to ensure every child benefits from that single opportunity. These proposals represent a further example of our ability to deliver.'

A parents helpline is available 0900 - 1700, Monday to Friday - 0845 123 2303.

Currently, around two per cent of the school population has a Record of Needs.

Click herefor a summary of Education Additional Support for Learning Bill.

See LGCnetfor the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities' reaction.

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