Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Anyone know about the Scottish school system and support for SN?

(30 Posts)
SneezySnuffaroo Thu 14-Aug-14 21:38:19

Does anyone have any experience of how children with SN are supported in Scottish schools?

Brief background is that we are trying to decide on a school for our DS, who is 4 and a half and has autism. He is currently still in nursery (deferred year) but we are going to have to register for school in a few months. I have been told he's "too good" for anything other than mainstream school, but I can't see how he's going to cope without some good support. We're even starting to think about home education, at least for the first year or two.

I've read our LA guidance on how they support kids with SN, but it's very vague. Lots of "schools have a legal obligation" type stuff but little about what kind of thing we could expect. I understand it needs to be a bit vague to allow them to assess each child's individual needs but I'm getting a bit lost! Any knowledge or experience would be greatly received. smile

Bilberry Thu 14-Aug-14 22:35:53

We're in Scotland and I fully agree with the 'vague' comment - the same goes for the curriculum for excellence; all vague and woolly with little you can actually pin down hmm. No statements up here. I would forget reading the LA bumf and go straight to the Scottish Governments "supporting children's learning code of practice (revised edition) 2010" which lays out what LA should do. You should also look up Enquire. The main thing is to start the ball rolling now (you are not in a hurry yet but now is a good time with a year to go). You need to start by asking for EP, SALT etc. assessments to get a better idea of what support your ds will need.

jackiee Fri 15-Aug-14 01:06:56

Hi im in Glasgow my ds is in nursery he is severely autistic but can cope well with things . I has to fight to get him a psa and have been told by ed psyc that the Scottish governments policy is for all sn kids to go to mainstream education ! . I am so unhappy with my sons education and I feel im going to have a tough time with the education board check with your local council and look at their policy but your ed psyc and nursery decide where your child whether your child is ready for mainstream school or not.

SneezySnuffaroo Fri 15-Aug-14 10:14:45

Thanks for your replies.

Bilberry I have already started trudging through the stuff on the Scottish Government website. I hadn't heard of Enquire, so I'll look at their website too.

Jackiee We're Glasgow too. We were also told that, as much as possible, they want all kids with SN in mainstream.

DS has been doing a placement at a SN nursery for the last little while. He finishes up there soon and has a review meeting with them, us, SALT, EP etc. I'm hoping that gives us some good pointers on what support he'll need.

I don't even know where to start looking for the right school. Our local school is huge, and too big for him, I think. I found a website (possibly a government one) where you can look up each school, look at their reports etc. but some of it is massively out of date and pretty much useless. And individual school websites are just as vague on support! Argh!

SneezySnuffaroo Fri 15-Aug-14 10:16:36

It was the Education Scotland website I found. Next to useless! The most recent report on one school I looked at was 2005!!!

tabulahrasa Fri 15-Aug-14 10:23:17

You won't really find anything about what support schools have already because unless they have something like an autism unit attached, support is put in place for individual pupils.

Every school has someone responsible for Additional support for learning, most schools have an Additional support for learning teacher (depending on the size of the school, smaller ones will have one with a dual role or share one).

If he already has an IEP in place at nursery it should really just move up with him.

Firsttimer7259 Fri 15-Aug-14 10:42:23

We are in Edinburgh. Process seems different to England, no statementing altho we do have an IEP and TAC meetings (called GIRFEC). But provision in Edinburgh has been good imo. DD 4.5 has ASD, GDD and suspected LD - Id say she's definitey not marginal in terms of MS SN education so maybe that colours our experience. The placing process is headed up by an ed psych. Ours is great - straight about resources, hugely experienced - we've tended to go with her suggestions once she has explained reasoning. Im not sure how much our expereince of SN nursery now SN school is useful to you. PM if you'd like details. I think contacting LAs might be best way forward in terms of getting a handle on specifics of provision rather than just the legal outlines

Bilberry Fri 15-Aug-14 11:03:31

[http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/04/04090720/0]. This is the code of practice - it is the statutory guidelines rather than simply bumf so is what you can quote at your LA. Enquire are an 'independent' ASN advisory group and provide some fact-sheets summarising bits of the code of practice which can be useful - start with their guide.

There is a presumption for mainstream education written into statute but your child has to be able to access the curriculum and if they can't do that in mainstream then they have to go where they can. Though the education only has to be 'adequate' not good!

Do you have ASD units in your area or ASN units attached to mainstream schools? They will provide higher levels of support with varying degrees of integration. If you are going to apply to these the application panels will probably meet before Christmas so you need to start pulling the application together this term (our school did our unit applications). It would be a good idea to visit them first.

Remember you are the only one who prioritises your ds, everyone else is balancing competing priorities. You will also have to change your perspective on reports; in this warped world 'bad' reports are 'good' as they help you push for further support.

Bilberry Fri 15-Aug-14 11:04:18

Sorry didn't link, will try again; www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/04/04090720/0

Kleinzeit Fri 15-Aug-14 20:54:33

After you’ve heard from the SALT and ed psych at the review meeting it would probably be a good idea to call your local primary school, maybe ask to speak to the head of early years and anyone who’s responsible for learning support. (Scottish schools don’t have SENCOs). Most schools have some experience of ASCs these days - in fact it was my DS’s P1 teacher who first recognised that he probably had an ASC. You can tell them what you DS seems to need and ask what support they offer.

Don’t immediately rule out a big school, they may have more experience of ASCs and also more support that they can call on than a smaller school. They may be able to adapt and create a more sheltered environment for your DS, e.g. my DS was put in a classroom with a playhouse where he could shelter, which had originally been originally installed for another kid with SN who had outgrown the need. There’s also nothing to stop you visiting/speaking to a couple of special schools either, see what they’re like and if they would suit your DS better.

I’m in Edinburgh, my DS has Asperger's, is good at academic work but had very challenging behaviour; he stayed in mainstream with fulltime 1-to-1 TA provided by the LA through primary school. He was very lucky to get that level of support and I know it’s unusual but don’t let anyone tell you it can’t ever be done because it has! He was also offered some weekly social and communication skills sessions run by a SALT and an OT, that was a joint provision by the LA and the NHS for kids with ASCs in mainstream schools. (Dunno if Glasgow has that though)

I’m glad bilberry has pointed you at Enquire – they have a very good helpline and the number is on their website. Definitely worth talking to them if you think your DS is wrongly being pushed into mainstream or if he’s not being offered the support he needs.

Best of luck flowers

tacal Sat 16-Aug-14 19:37:36

hi, I made the mistake of thinking a small school would be better. I am in Glasgow and started ds in a small school. It didn't work out so moved him to one of the bigger local schools and it is so much better. They have had more experience and are much more supportive. Ds has had some bad times where his anxiety has been bad but mostly I have been happy with the school.

I would go and visit the schools and speak to the teacher who deals with sn (depute head at the schools in my area).

I also found enquire to be helpful.

Good luck.

Kaffiene Sun 17-Aug-14 15:00:59

The equivalent of a statement in Scotland is called a Co-Ordinated Support plan (CSP) it's a legal document that has goals and actions.

Kaffiene Sun 17-Aug-14 15:09:19

Just seen something up thread about GIRFEC. That stands for Getting it Right For Every Child and isn't a process as such. It is a vague statement that applies to every child SN or not. Once they start school the multi disciplinary meetings are called staged assessment meetings, at a pre school level they are called EYCAT. Early years something or other I can't remember!
My daughter has a physical disability but has 100% 1:1 support. There are 2 pupils in her class with AS. They spend some time in the mainstream class and rest if the time in the Base, the support unit within the school. They have 1;1 support in the mainstream class and 1:6 I believe in the Base

Kleinzeit Sun 17-Aug-14 16:48:53

Unless things have changed very recently, although they are both legal requirements, in other ways a CSP is different from the English “statement” and (as far as I know, at least in Edinburgh) CSPs are quite rare. I do know one parent of a child who has autism and a CSP but your DS is unlikely to qualify for a CSP if his “only” problem is autism. CSPs are awarded to children who have what’s called “significant” needs from several agencies i.e., health, education and social services, and “significant” is actually the highest category of needs.

Before CSPs were introduced, my DS had a “record of needs” which was much more like a "statement", but when the "record of needs" was abolished and CSPs were introduced instead, he was nowhere near qualifying for a CSP. However to be fair he was still given good support even without.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 17-Aug-14 16:59:28

It's vague as a vague thing with a special reason to be vague on a bank holiday dedicated to vagueness, and getting support for HF children can be exceptionally difficult.

I would suggest visiting every primary school within a reasonable travel difference. Don't discount your local primary because it is large, and don't assume schools in 'better' areas will be better able to support. Our first school was in a 50% FSM areas, really big, lots of people moving in and out of the area and they were fantastic, very on the ball and very able to cope with all sorts of challenges. English as a second language was very common, so the school was very much set up round helping children with communication challenges, which was perfect for DS.

We then moved to a small, leafy village type set up and they have been pretty useless - although yes, the small environment has had benefits in itself.

The other thing you can do is see if there are any support groups or parent groups near you - even if this isn't the sort of thing you'd normally want to do, other parents are by far your best source of inside knowledge.

But definitely visit - their attitudes will tell you everything you need to know. We once viewed a house which was owned by a teacher in what would have been the local school, so I asked her what the SN provision was like and she said 'oh, to be honest, our school is so high achieving parents usually prefer to send those kids to the school in the next village.' So that told us everything we needed to know about that town! shock

Bilberry Sun 17-Aug-14 23:15:21

Yes, kleinzeit we are arguing over 'significant' with our LA. Though significant is actually a lot less than the LA make out! To get a CSP you need a complex need or multiple needs lasting more than a year, this must have a significant impact on schooling and must involve significant input from another agency (NHS) or LA acting in another capacity (eg. Looked after children may have one due to involvement of Social services). Educational support requirements are not enough of themselves. Our school have been mostly very supportive of our unit applications and getting assessments etc. It is a very large school so has experience and tries its best but the learning support budget is small as the area has low deprivation scores. I looked at a village school in a neighbouring LA but, as it was so small, ASN support only visited one morning a week which didn't seem much use!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 18-Aug-14 11:19:18

YY Bilberry our school gets 2 hours of EP every 6 weeks - and now ds is further up school the EP is the gateway for all his extra needs. So just getting seen by her took 12 weeks, grrrr. I didn't even think about things like that when we moved to a smaller school.

prettybird Mon 18-Aug-14 16:28:58

If your child has significant needs, there is the Toryglen Autism Unit, which is attached to Toryglen Primary school. It is "maintream but not", if you see what I mean, in that they do work to integrate pupils as much as possible. There may be other units in Glasgow, but that's the only one I'm aware of, 'cos a friend's ds went there.

In fact, he was placed there in about P4 (iirc) without a formal diagnosis because his primary couldn't cope with him. I got my friend to come on here to ask advice as she wasn't sure about being labelled - but the MNers on the Special Needs board told her to jump at the opportunity.

He's thrived there and has just started at secondary school. She was gearing up for a fight as there are two Autistic Units at secondary school - one, at Govan High, is rally just a "look after them" unit where they have no aspirations for the pupils as they are perceived as never going to be able to cope in RL and the other, at Hill Park Secondary (or is Hill View? I always get them mixed up ) is one where the pupils are expected to take exams and it is more of a sanctuary and support set up. In the event, he got into Hill Park.

Her ds is very high functioning (he plays rugby and his coaches know how to deal with him and also another individual sport which he is very good at), so she was determined that he go to a school which would have high expectations of him.

Don't really want to go into more detail but if you want to PM me, I could put you in touch with her. Better to get it first hand than from my 2nd hand knowledge.

tacal Mon 18-Aug-14 20:12:59

prettybird my ds is in mainstream primary and doing well. He has high functioning autism. I have been wondering about Hill park. Did your friends dc need to be referred by ed psych? At the moment it is planned my dc will go to Shawlands Academy but I don't know that much about it and how supportive they are.

prettybird Mon 18-Aug-14 20:57:50

I've talked to the head teacher at Shawlands (that was one of the back up plans for my friend's ds) and got the impression that they're pretty supportive. What it doesn't have is a base for the kids to retreat to if they have a meltdown (although the S1 depute head's office seems to be quite a sanctuary). The other school that is apparently very good (having talked to parents of high-functioning ASD kids) is Holyrood.

Not sure what involvement the Ed Psych had with friend's ds.

prettybird Mon 18-Aug-14 21:08:10

Ds is at Shawlands and I think it's a brilliant school.

BTW - once your ds is 5, he could come along to either (or both) the ASD rugby at Cartha QP (from 12 on Sundays) or the Micros Rugby (from 12.45). They start from P1 or age 5 (so deferred kids need to wait until they're actually 5). The Micros coaches are used to herding cats wink. The friend's ds has been going along since he was in about P2 (to both sessions) and he's done well.

tacal Tue 19-Aug-14 00:09:30

thank you prettybird for info on schools and rugby. I will have a think about the rugby. He loves sports but could do with less activities at the moment rather than adding another one.

I will phone Hill Park and ask. Ds goes to a PRI!art school that feeds into Shawlands so it is probably where he will go.

tacal Tue 19-Aug-14 00:10:22

*primary school

SneezySnuffaroo Tue 19-Aug-14 21:27:24

Wow, you are all amazing! Thanks for all the advice. I wish I knew you all in rl then I'd invite you round for tea and cake, and pick your brains! A virtual brew and cake will have to suffice.

I don't know anyone else with an autistic child so it's hard to get an idea of which schools are thought of better than others in terms of additional support. prettybird, our closest school is Shawlands so that's good to hear. The other one someone mentioned to me was Glendale Primary. His current nursery are amazing and I wish he could just stay there for another couple of years! They have suggested I come in and meet with them to discuss my concerns about him starting school (um, everything?) and they'll see what they can do to help over this year.

DS hasn't met many milestones when he was meant to, but has got there in his own time. I worry that maybe 5 and a half is still just too soon for him to be going to school. But, unless I home educate, I can't keep him back. I do think he would enjoy school. He watches that school programme on cbeebies and asks if he can go. And a year is a huge amount of time in terms of how far he could come. His receptive and expressive language is good but behind. He's still in a nappy. He can't dress/undress himself. He takes an age to eat meals and needs a lot of encouragement. He enjoys playing and interacting with other children but doesn't always know how to do it/what to say. His attention is poor. I could go on. I think I get overwhelmed by it all, and am feeling the pressure to make the right decision for him.

My plan is that we'll go to his review next week. Then visit schools to see which we like best/will suit him best. Meanwhile, get the ball rolling with nursery to try and address some of the things he struggles with. I'll also read up on the links up thread. Does that sound sensible?

Thanks again.

prettybird Wed 20-Aug-14 08:13:43

I can also highly recommend Glendale Primary - the teachers there are very supportive. smile

Ds was a placing request for Shawlands Academy - Glendale is/was our catchment primary. It may be difficult to get into if you're not in catchment (although it does have a weird catchment and initially we didn't realise we were already in its catchment).

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