Policy Scotland is a country which increasingly places great

Policy

 

Scotland is a country which increasingly places great
emphasis and value on the importance of an education system that strives to
create a meritocratic social system and strong democracy (Devine, 1999). The
success of the education system and the children in it depends immensely on
external factors like teachers, parents, communities and policies. In 2004 the
Scottish education system was overhauled with the introduction of ‘The
Curriculum for Excellence’ (CfE) (Scottish Government, 2004) a new curriculum designed
to meet the needs and abilities of all children through a more enriched system.
The CfE was created with the intention of developing learners into confident
individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors;
also known as ‘the 4 capacities of the CfE’. A main development within the new
curriculum is the movement away from a system based upon standardised testing
and towards a more flexible and varied curriculum which takes the needs,
abilities and levels of all learners into account (Priestly, 2013). As well as
the development of a new curriculum Scotland has also seen an array of policy
changes and implementations. Many administrations from previous Labour and
current SNP parties have produced polices committed to inclusion, social
justice and equality. For example, in 2007 Skills Strategy (Scottish
Government, 2007) was created with one of its major objectives to ensure equal
opportunity and participation for everyone from all social economical
backgrounds. Not everyone is convinced that Scotland is the egalitarian society
many paint it as, this is a point that is argued throughout Mooney and Scott
(2005). However, with much of recent policies designed to see inclusion at the
heart of education, Scotland’s efforts and intentions cannot be argued.

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Scotland’s adherence for inclusion has been further
established by an extensive list of legislation which includes ‘Statutory
Guidance: Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000′ (Scottish Government,
2000). Act 2000 seen that all learners would be taught in mainstream school
unless under special circumstances. The circumstances that would lead to
learners being placed in special provisions are ones that would see a high
financial expectation from the government if the learner was to remain in
mainstream school, was against the parents wishes or if the learners attendance
within a mainstream school would be detrimental to other learner’s education or
the education of themselves. in 2001, the extension of the Disability Discrimination
Act 1995 was furthered to also include education resulting in schools and local
authorities’ responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for disabilities as
well as ensuring the equal treatment for learners with disabilities. Local
authorities were also obliged by Scottish legislation to make and present
accessibility strategies to record the progress of the creation of inclusive
environments. However, the legislation wasn’t explicit resulting in auxiliary
aids and services being exempt and thus creating no legal obligation for
resources or additional personnel by local authorities which diminished the
potential for redistribution (Riddell, 2006). Taking into account the increasingly
wide range of support required by many individuals, The Additional Support for
learning Act 2004 (Scottish Government, 2004) saw the broadening of support
available and saw a shift in the definition of additional support needs (ASN).
It also ensures local authorities have a duty of care to identify and monitor
learners needs and requirements. The introduction of Act 2004 also resulted in
the term ASN replacing special education needs (SEN). It has been stated that
this change in the use of terminology transformed the education system for
learners with ASN (McKay & McLarty, 2008). The big difference between the
two terminologies was that SEN regarded specific physical or intellectual
conditions whilst ASN refers to various issues that could affect a learner. Additionally,
ASN also identified with a varied range of alternative components that SEN
didn’t consider resulting in learners with home issues, low self-esteem and
many more falling under the ASN category and therefore issuing them with the
extra attention that they previously didn’t get under SEN which ensured that these
learners had the same access towards experiences and outcomes as everyone else.
(Galbraith, 2015).      

In 2007 the Scottish education system saw the introduction
of The National Framework for Inclusion (Scottish Government, 2007). This
framework’s intention was to ensure the support and guidance of all learners
and practitioners for the entirety of their careers or education. It provides
guidance which outlines what is required to ensure inclusive practice within
the classroom. The framework is made up of 3 distinct areas: understanding,
skills and abilities, professional knowledge and values for inclusion (Scottish
Teacher Education Committee, 2009). Another approach the government are taking
to ensure social justice and inclusion is ‘Getting It Right For Every Child’
(GIRFEC) (Scottish Government, 2008). GIRFEC is designed to ensure a strong
relationship between all services that are in place to ensure the overall
wellbeing of a child e.g. social services, education system and health
services. One of GIRFEC’s key aims is intervening as soon as signs of an issue
are detected to prevent escalation; trying to be proactive and prevent a
situation rather than reactive and react to a situation. To aid in the
detection of any potential issues in a learner’s education, wellbeing or both,
this framework provides a set of wellbeing indicators, also known as the
SHANARI Wellbeing Wheel (Scottish Government, 2017). There are many components
that can affect a child’s wellbeing at school including substance abuse, neglect,
mental health issues etc. If these issues are not recognised, then the learner
may not receive the adequate support which can in turn lead to both social
exclusion and exclusion in the classroom due to their inability to access the
same opportunities as others. The Scottish government are continuing to work
towards the implementation of more frameworks and policies to work towards a
more inclusive education system.