Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill: consultation

Closes 21 Apr 2024

Education

This section relates to children and young people in early years, primary and secondary school education settings. Higher and Further Education and University education is considered within the scope of another section of the consultation, called Children and Young People -Transitions to Adulthood.

Neurodivergent children and young people, and children and young people with learning disabilities should be able to reach their full potential and live happy and fulfilling lives. Without the right learning experiences and support, these children and young people are likely to be disadvantaged, their quality of life adversely affected and their aspirations unreached. This can be particularly felt by children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities for whom specialist education is the most appropriate option.  

Neurodivergent children and young people, and children and young people with learning disabilities, their families, and organisations that represent them have consistently raised concerns that these groups are not having their right to education fulfilled and are missing out on reaching their full potential, which may contribute to poorer outcomes in adult life.  

In Scotland, the education system aims to be fully inclusive. There is a legal presumption that children will be educated in mainstream schools except for in exceptional circumstances. 

What can the Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence (LDAN) Bill do?

An independent review of additional support for learning legislation found that the legislation is not deficient. However, it found a gap between the policy intention of the legislation and its implementation. Since then, a comprehensive Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Review Action Plan has, and is currently being, progressed. This work is being done in partnership with Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES).  Whilst there is a comprehensive and robust action plan in place to address the implementation gap, the following proposals could potentially be explored in relation to the Bill:  

Proposal 1: Strategies and reporting requirements

The 2000 Act imposes duties on education authorities and schools to plan and report annually on the measures that they are taking to address the key priorities of the National Improvement Framework (NIF). The statutory guidance to support these legislative duties is currently being reviewed.  We could consider whether to create a new requirement for education authorities and schools to include in their plans and reports an articulation of how the specific needs of neurodivergent pupils and pupils with learning disabilities have been considered and are being met.  

We could consider whether to require that Children’s Services Plans Annual Reports should include specific consideration of neurodivergent children and young people and children and young people with learning disabilities. 

Proposal 2: Mandatory training for teachers, practitioners and other educators

We have set out proposals for a mandatory training requirement for health and social care staff, and are seeking views on whether this should extended to other public sector areas. Therefore, we could explore:  

(a)   whether there is a need to set out anything in legislation regarding the training requirements for student teachers, given the recently updated Standard for Provisional Registration;  

(b)   whether there is a need to set out anything in legislation regarding the training requirements for student Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) practitioners; and,  

(c)   whether there is a need for a mandatory training requirement for teachers, practitioners and other educators on learning disabilities and neurodivergence as part of their Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Proposal 3: Data

The overarching themes section of this consultation sets out broad proposals relating to data and invites views.

Current Additional Support needs (ASN) data reflects that children and young people have a wide ranging spectrum of learning needs.  Within this, there is disaggregated data available on some conditions but not others. For example, there is disaggregated data available on learning disabilities, autism and dyslexia but it isn’t available on Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Dyscalculia and other neurodivergent conditions.

To better understand all neurodivergent children and young people and their experiences and outcomes in relation to education this data could be collected and published. This would allow for reporting on the attainment gap of these groups, school leavers and positive destinations, and to understand the size of these populations and any trends. There may also be a need for data on the use of part-time timetables.

Please tell us what you think.

Related information

Consultation Questions

The questions in this document refer to information contained in our consultation document and various alternative formats which can all be found here

You need only answer questions in the sections most relevant to you.

Which of these proposals do you agree with (if any), please tell us why?
Which of these proposals do you not agree with (if any), please tell us why?
Is there anything else that we should consider in relation to education?