Editor's comment

25th July 2008 at 01:00

How do you reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable? Or the desire of parents to access the very best for their severely disabled child with the fears of a local authority that it will have to write a blank cheque to a neighbouring council tasked with meeting those needs via a placing request?

Of course, in the best of all possible worlds special needs provision would be of such high quality that parents would not need to look beyond their own doorstep for specialist resources; there would be unlimited access to health, social and educational support, and everyone would agree on the best possible package for every child.

That, however, is not the real world. The consultation on amendments to the Additional Support for Learning Act has shone light on a number of anomalies, from the jurisdiction of the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland to the duties, responsibilities and liabilities of home and host authorities, and parental rights. Yet at every proposed solution, there is a rejoinder of "Yes, but this could throw up such and such a problem ... ".

Rewriting the 1980 Education (Scotland) Act was never going to be easy, but the draftsmen would appear to have made an already complicated area even more complex, bureaucratic and inaccessible in its ASL Act 2004 and subsequent amendment Bill.

The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland warns that the complexity and cost of the arrangements needed to make this legislation - even in amended form - should not be underestimated.

But that begs a fundamental question. Since the ASL Act imposes a duty on a council to make "adequate and efficient" provision for a child's support needs, as long as this does not require it to do anything which "would result in unreasonable public expenditure being incurred", should a council be allowed to make provision that is inadequate (and inefficient) solely on financial grounds?

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now