Weekly political news round up – Friday 3rd January 2014

January 3, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

The Department for Education has announced that parents who are trialling the Government’s new special education needs (SEN) reforms, which are going through Parliament as part of the Children and Families Bill,  are ‘happier than ever’ with the new support available and have much more control over the services they are receiving. Findings from the pilots being conducted by over 2000 families across 31 councils show that 88% of parents feel their views had been taken into consideration, and that professionals are overwhelmingly supportive of the new approaches.

Scottish Government announces consultation on draft guidance on the duties of education authorities and schools to develop Accessibility Strategies

The Scottish Government has announced a consultation on draft guidance on the duties of education authorities and schools (both independent and state run) to develop and publish Accessibility Strategies to improve access to the curriculum, school information and physical access.

The draft guidance is intended to replace earlier guidance issued by the Scottish Executive in 2002, which provided advice to education authorities and schools about how they could meet their duties to improve access to education for disabled pupils. These planning duties came into force in 2002 with the commencement of the Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils’ Education Records) (Scotland) Act 2002. The new guidance will consider the provisions of the Act in light of the legislative and policy developments since 2002.

There is only one mention of continence issues in the guidance, in the overview of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004. This highlights that not all children with additional support needs will be disabled and, conversely, not all disabled children will necessarily require additional support to enable them to benefit from education. Attached to the overview of the 2004 Act is an appendix which shows overlap between disability and additional support needs, which highlights that incontinence is a need which may meet definition under the Equality Act for the application and development of accessibility strategies, rather than automatically.

Accompanying the draft guidance is a questionnaire document asking whether the guidance is clear and whether there are any areas that are missing or require clarification.