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Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 [S]

The act makes provision for additional support in connection with the school education of children and young persons having additional support needs; and for connected purposes. The act was passed on 1 April 2004.

Main Provisions of the Act

  • The concept of 'special educational needs' will be replaced by the concept of 'additional support needs'. Children or young people will have additional support needs if they are (or are likely to be) unable to benefit from school education provided (or to be provided), without the provision of additional support.

  • Education authorities will have duties:
    - to make adequate and efficient provision for children and young people's additional support needs, subject to the authorities' powers and what is practicable at a reasonable cost
    - to identify and address the additional support needs of pupils, for whose school education the authorities are responsible and powers to do so for other children
    - to seek and take account of relevant advice and information from appropriate agencies and people, including the child, the child's parent or a young person, when considering additional support needs, CSPs or undertaking a review
    - to publish information on local policies, arrangements and provision for children and young people with additional support needs and explain children's, young people's and parents' roles, responsibilities and rights. A minimum information standard will be set.
    - to get information about the provision other agencies will have to make for the future needs of the young person once they have left school. They must plan to prepare the young person and to support the transition to these other services. This must be done at least 12 months before the young person leaves school.
    - to specifically co-ordinate the support to be provided as set out in the CSP. (S.9) There will be a named individual who will manage the day to day implementation of the CSP. This can be delegated to an individual outside education if this is more appropriate.

  • Education authorities may ask other agencies (e.g. local authorities, health boards or trusts) for help. These agencies must provide this help, unless the request is incompatible with their own statutory or other duties or unduly prejudices carrying out their functions.

  • There will be no more Records of Needs but a new type of individualised plan, the Coordinate Support Plan (CSP). CSPs will be available to children or young people who have additional support needs arising from
    (i) one or more complex factors or
    (ii) multiple factors, which are likely to continue for more than one year. Further, those needs must require significant additional support to be provided by agencies outwith education.

    A 'complex' factor is defined as one that has (or is likely to have) a significant adverse effect on school education; multiple factors may not by themselves be complex factors but together have (or are likely to have) a significant adverse effect.

    At the written request of a child's parent or a young person, education authorities must establish whether a child or young person has additional support needs, or requires a CSP (unless the request is unreasonable).

  • The formal Future Needs Assessment process has been removed. Instead, in addition to a duty on education authorities to ask for information from other agencies at least 12 months before
    a young person leaves school, they must also provide information to other agencies at least 6 months before the leaving date.

  • Education authorities will have the duty to make arrangements for providing independent mediation services which will be free of charge.

  • The act establishes a new route of appeal: the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland A child's parents or young people will be able to appeal against an education authority's decision on whether or not to prepare, review or discontinue a CSP and against a CSP's contents. This includes the educational outcomes and provision. The Tribunal will be able to order the education authority to open, discontinue, amend the contents, or review a CSP. The tribunal will only have jurisdiction over education authorities. Appeals against Tribunal decisions will be only on points of law, to the Court of Session. Legal aid will be available to those who qualify before and after a Tribunal but will not be available for representation at the Tribunal. Legal aid will also be available, for those eligible, for the Court of Session.

  • Parents of children and young people who do not have a CSP but does have additional support needs will have access to dispute resolution outside of the formal appeals route.

  • All parents of children with additional support needs will have the right to make placing requests to independent special schools. Education authorities must comply unless the children or young people do not have the appropriate needs for the school or the authorities can meet those needs within their own schools or by other arrangements. Appeals will continue to be heard at the Education Authority Appeals Committee except where they are also appealing a decision not to prepare a CSP. In this case the placing request appeal will also be heard by the Tribunal

  • A Code of Practice will be issued and set out minimum standards. The aim is that the Code promotes more and better joint planning and partnership, and consistency across Scotland.


01/03 The Draft ASL Bill was issued for consultation

28/03/03 End of Consultation

Lead committee:

Education Committee

Preliminary discussion:

Education Committee on 3, 9 September 2003; 1 October 2003

Stage 1 (to be completed by 30 January 2004):

28/10/03 Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament.


Education Committee on 5, 12, 19, 26 November 2003; 3, 10, 17 December 2003; 7, 14, 21 January 2004

Equal Opportunities Committee on 4, 25 November 2003; 9 December 2003; 6 January 2004

Finance Committee on 18 November 2003; 2, 16 December 2003

Subordinate Legislation Committee on 2, 9 December 2003

23/01/04 - Stage 1 Report (Education Committee)

28/01/04 - The bill was passed at Stage 1

Stage 2 (to be completed by 17 March 2004):


Education Committee on 11, 25 February 2004; 3, 10 March 2004

Pre-Stage 3:

Subordinate Legislation Committee on 30 March 2004

01/04/04 - Bill was passed at Stage 3.

07/05/04 -Bill received Royal Assent.

Summer 2004 - The Executive is preparing a draft Code of Practice for implementing the Act.

Autumn/ Winter 2004 - the Code of Practice is expected to be out for consultation.

Autumn 2005 - The Act is expected to come into force.

Further Information

  1. Summary Handout on the Additional Support for Learning Bill [S]
  2. A Guide for Parents - The Additional Support for Learning Bill [S]
  3. Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill Policy Memorandum
  4. 4th Marshalled List of Amendments for Stage 2 Education (ASL) (Scotland) Bill
  5. 1st Marshalled List of Amendments for Stage 2 Education (ASL) (Scotland) Bill
  6. Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill as introduced
  7. Letter from Minister on introduction of ASL Bill [S]
  8. Statistics Publication Notice Education Series: Pupils with a Record of Needs
  9. Scottish Parliaments Official Report 28/01/04
  10. Scottish Parliaments Education Committee Website
  11. draft Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill
  12. Children in Scotland Policy Briefing
  13. Report of the Consultation on the draft Additional Support for Learning Bill [S]
  14. Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill (as passed)
  15. Scottish Parliament Official Report 01/04/04
  16. Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill Explanatory Notes
  17. SB 03-88 Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill Research Briefing
  18. Marshalled List of Amendments selected for Stage 3 Education (ASL) (Scotland) Bill
  19. Moving Forward! Additional Support for Learning
  20. 2nd Report 2004: Stage 1 Report on Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill
  21. Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill As amended at Stage 2
  22. 2nd Report 2004: Stage 1 Report on Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill