Following the introduction of a new Code of Practice in Scotland, in which the term special educational needs has been replaced with the concept of additional support for learning and an emphasis is placed on circumstances in which learning takes place rather on categorisation of need, it might be assumed that developments in inclusive education have moved ahead of those in England and Wales.(1)
However, a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament suggests that problems north of the border continue to mirror those discussed in Westminster.(2)
A number of contributors to this debate expressed grave concerns about the status and closure of effective special schools, whilst others questioned the level of resourcing to support the implementation of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.
Despite concerns about whether this act will improve provision in Scotland, the Code of Practice makes particularly illuminating reading, and its proposal to introduce coordinated support plans with a scope extending beyond education provision, should be of interest to anyone involved in the development of integrated children’s services.
Notes 1. Supporting Children’s Learning: Code of Practice, Scottish Executive, 2005 can be ordered from Blackwell’s Bookshop (Edinburgh). ISBN 0-7559-4624.
2. Scottish Parliament, Members’ Business Debate, 3 November 2005