Appendix I: What are my child's rights?
In recent years, the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments have both introduced legislation which is relevant to the stages of change in a deaf child's journey through education. Some key points are as follows:
The Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000
All children are 'presumed' to be educated within mainstream schools. However, it is still possible to make a case for education in a special school for deaf children (such as St Vincent's School in Glasgow or Donaldson's College in Edinburgh) if you feel this is in the best interests of your child.
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001
This Act outlaws disability discrimination within education. You may or may not view deafness as a disability. However, the Act protects individual deaf children from discrimination within schools.
The Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils' Educational Records) (Scotland) Act 2002
All local authorities must make plans, known as 'Disability Strategies', to ensure that disabled pupils won't be discriminated against in the future. Again, deaf children are assumed to come within the category of disabled pupils.
The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004
This Act changes the system for assessing and recording the arrangements needed for children with 'additional support needs' to access curriculum and assessment within schools and nurseries. There are three levels of planning system which match the level of access support and review required:
a) Personal Learning Planning (PLP). This is the regular system of planning and review which applies to all pupils.
b) Individualised Educational Programme (IEP). An IEP sets out detailed targets for individual learning where this is needed.
c) Coordinated Support Plan (SCP). From August 2005, CSPs replaced Record of Needs. A CSP may be appropriate where more in-depth, long-term planning is needed.
NB an existing Record of Needs will not be remove immediately. This will be done gradually over the next few years at review meetings.
Deaf children are likely to have additional support needs. For example, your child may require equipment (such as a radio aid or a Soundfield System) or a professional to provide language / communication access to lessons (see Appendix 3). Depending on a range o factors, such as level of deafness, your child may have an IEP or a CSP. Parents (and older deaf children themselves) are expected to play a part in the process of assessment and recording - particularly for more in-depth plans.
Who can help? (see Appendix II for contact details)
If you want to know more about how these and other relevant policies and legislation are likely to affect your child's education, contact:
West of Scotland Deaf Children's Society (WSDCS)
NDCS Scotland works closely with the WSDCS. The can advise on legal rights and provide personal support if you are negotiating educational provision for your child. They have particular expertise and knowledge about education of deaf children. Most of the staff are themselves parents of deaf children. They have a helpline, a local group and various publications.
Enquire is an independent advice service on educational provision for children / young people with additional support needs. Enquire covers all areas of additional support needs, not specifically services for deaf children and young people. They produce fact sheets about key aspects of relevant legislation which are informative and easy to read. They also have a helpline.
Equity in Education cover all areas of additional support needs. They also offer advice about legislation and policy and produce informative newsletters.
Further reading (see Further reading)
A Guide for Parents: Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 - schools (Scotland) (2003).
A Guide for Parents: The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.
A Parents' Guide to Special Educational Needs (and other Enquire publications).