Report: Chloe Minto gives evidence to the Parliament’s Education, Children & Young People Committee

This week, Govan Law Centre’s (GLC) Chloe Minto, senior solicitor, Education Law Unit, gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education, Children and Young People Committee in its Additional Support for Learning Inquiry. The Scottish Parliament’s video of this evidence session can be seen below.

The inquiry is considering how the 2004 Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 has been implemented in Scotland and how it is working in practice.

Its focus is on three themes: implementation of the presumption of mainstreaming; the impact of COVID-19 on additional support for learning; and the use of remedies as set out in the 2004 Act. This was the fourth formal evidence session of the inquiry, in which the Committee focussed on themes one and three.

In GLC’s evidence, Chloe Minto discussed the importance of education authorities taking responsibility for exploring whether a child is masking when in school. Without understanding why a child is presenting differently at home than at school it is very difficult for them to be able to comment whether the school is suitable for their needs.

“Integration is not enough, children have the right to achieve their own potential”.

Chloe Minto, senior solicitor, GLC’s Education Law Unit

Chloe said: “We have seen children who’ve experienced exclusion through ‘inclusion’ – it’s not a tragedy when a child has to be placed in a special provision; it’s a tragedy when we are not meeting their needs and trying to fit a child into a mold. Integration is not enough, children have the right to achieve their own potential”.

Chloe emphasised our concern that despite GLC’s service being funded to provide free legal representation to parents and young people across Scotland, with a right of reference to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal, our casework figures suggested there were groups who, for whatever reason, were not accessing our service.

In particular, we have a concern around looked after children accessing our service where the number of engagements with this group is disproportionately low. GLC’s evidence also raised the importance of education authorities understanding their legal duties in order to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the children and noting that GLC has training available to them and other groups and organisations.

Other panel witnesses before the committee included: Megan Farr, Policy Officer, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland; David Mackay, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, and Marie Harrison, Senior Policy Officer – My Rights, My Say, Children In Scotland.

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