Additional Support Needs (ASN) is the term which applies to children and young people who, for whatever reason, require additional or different support, to help them get the most of their education. The additional support could be required throughout the childs whole school career, or only for a short time to help them through a difficult period, and could be due to a variety of factors such as disability, ill-health, family circumstances, social or emotional difficulties.
The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 is legislation which states that schools must- “make adequate and efficient provision for such additional support as is required by that child or young person”.
However, sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, situations can arise which cause disagreements between parents and schools as to what, or how much, support should be put into place. All parties involved can become frustrated, angry and upset, unable to find a solution and way forward. And what is truly best for the child can be lost.
So how can mediation help? Fundamentally, mediation brings people together to resolve a disagreement. Communication break-downs, different perspectives and a lack of information can all be addressed through mediators, helping parents and education staff to talk and listen effectively with one another, repairing trust, re-building relationships and re-opening vital communication channels. An impartial mediator helps people to communicate their viewpoint to one other calmly and constructively, giving everyone an opportunity to express concerns and offer solutions. Everyone is involved in the decision-making process, working toward a solution that satisfies everyone- a solution with the focus firmly on the best interests of the child or young person.
Parents, carers and young people are entitled to access to free mediation should they require it, to allow them to resolve disputes and move forward, and each local authority have a duty to engage with an independent mediation provider and publish the details of their impartial ASN mediation provider.
For more information, take a look at this information leaflet from Resolve, who are the largest ASN mediation provider in Scotland, supporting families and education staff in fifteen local authority areas. Their friendly and helpful staff are happy to answer any questions you may have, provide you with information or point you in the right direction of your local provider.
You can also access more information by-
- dropping us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- contacting the Additional Support for Learning Education Officer in your local authority
- calling Enquire on 0845 123 2303