Resourced School Provision - Glaitness School and Kirkwall Grammar School
Section 15 of The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000 requires that educational provision for all pupils should be in mainstream schools, except where certain exceptional circumstances apply:
- Mainstream school would not be suited to the ability or aptitude of the child.
- Provision of education to the child in a mainstream school would be incompatible with the proficient education to those with whom the child would be educated.
- The placing of a child in a mainstream school would result in unreasonable public expenditure being incurred that would not normally be incurred.
The Act also states that school education must be directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential.
A great deal of effort must be made to reduce the barriers to learning, facing some learners within mainstream classes in order to increase participation and achievement. For some pupils these goals cannot be achieved without the involvement of Orkney’s schools which have enhanced provisions, Glaitness for children up to 12 years of age and Kirkwall Grammar School for young people above the age of 12.
The involvement of the ‘enhanced’ provisions can range from an outreach role, to a mainstream school supporting the inclusion of a pupil experiencing significant learning difficulties, through to providing direct support for a learner within a support group or class on a part or full time basis.
The process utilising the enhanced provisions within Orkney involves a number of steps as outlined below:
- School staff, the Educational Psychology Service and other relevant agencies should establish the nature and extent of the child or the young person’s difficulties.
- There should be a review of the steps taken to address the child’s difficulties and the extent to which these actions have facilitated progress.
- An action plan should be drawn up detailing how the barriers to learning experienced may be minimised further.
- If actions detailed in the plan do not lead to improvement for the child or young person there should be consideration of access to enhanced provision.
Parents should be fully involved in all stages of the process described above.
- At step 3 parents should be informed that it maybe necessary to involve Glaitness School or Kirkwall Grammar School in the support arrangements for their child and their consent for this must be sought.
- At step 4 there should be a clear agenda for the required review and planning meeting, which allows the roles and responsibilities of the school staff involved in the ongoing support arrangements for the pupil to be made clear.
- It should be noted that the steps 1-4 are the same as those recommended for decisions on educational placements and it is possible that at step 4 the alternative provision being considered is one outwith Orkney.
To aid the efficiency of the reviewing and decision making process it is essential that the following principles and working practices are established:
- The consultative role of the Educational Psychology Service should be understood and practised in all schools.
- Placement arrangements for pupils with additional support needs should be monitored and reviewed regularly, with view to participation within mainstream classes being increased where appropriate, children returning full time to mainstream classes being a possible option.
- Primary school Head Teachers should be informed by the Orkney Pre-School Development Team of pre-school children in their catchment area who have significant additional support needs.
- Secondary school Head Teachers should be informed by the Educational Psychology Service, through the process of consultation, of primary children in their catchment area who have significant additional support needs.
- Key questions to be asked when placement within Glaitness or Kirkwall Grammar School support classes or groups are being considered are “What benefit would a placement at Glaitness or Kirkwall Grammar School offer the child or young person? Do these outweigh benefits of continuing within their local mainstream school?”
While the ‘presumption of mainstream’ always applies, if a pupil with complex support needs, to the extent that they require significant support and/or a co-ordinated support plan, has attended their community pre-school or primary school, there should be no assumption that they will ‘automatically’ progress to the next stage of educational provision - primary or secondary school. The annual review must continue to consider the question of ‘appropriate placement’ based on the full range of assessment data.
Further information on Glaitness and Kirkwall Grammar School can be found on their websites.