At the heart of GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) is a commitment to ensuring that every child and young person is safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included. The GIRFEC commitment means that no matter their setting or needs every child and young person can rely on a network of support, ensuring they get the right help at the right time.
GIRFEC impacts significantly on how voluntary and statutory service providers develop their services.
NEW - Progressing Human Rights for Children in Scotland
A Scottish Government Action Plan for Children’s Rights
Sets out our ambition to deliver the building blocks and the foundations that help children and young people to experience their rights. Download the pdf doc HERE
Adolescent violence to parents and carers
An information booklet supports parents who experience violence. More HERE
Poverty, human rights and Scotland
Together tells the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights that children across Scotland say tackling poverty must be a priority. Download the pdf doc HERE
Safeguarding isn’t just a concern for the international aid sector
Safeguarding should be a key priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk. More HERE
For most children the summer holidays are a time for fun and a break from school, but for some this period can bring an increased risk of harm, neglect, and disruption. More HERE
Building Adult Capabilities to improve Child Outcomes
This 5-minute video describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children's lifelong learning, health, and behaviour. More HERE
Children missing from Education
These resources from the specialist Scottish Government team are for local authorities and schools. More HERE
Supporting Children and Young People with Healthcare Needs in Schools
This is a guidance document for NHS Boards, education authorities and schools. More HERE
National action plan to tackle child sexual exploitation
A progress report has been published updating on actions to achieve Scotland's vision of a place where sexual exploitation of children and young people is eliminated. More HERE
Growing up in poverty is the biggest human rights issue facing children in Scotland. More from the Children’s Commissioner’s team. More HERE
Trauma and Young People
A guide for parents, carers and professionals from The Children’s Society. Download pdf doc HERE
Domestic abuse in Scotland
Characteristics of victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse incidents recorded by the police in Scotland. More HERE
Neuroscience matters for teaching and learning
An understanding of neuroscience can help teachers support children to learn. More HERE
Inside I’m Hurting
Practical strategies for supporting children with attachment difficulties in schools. Author Louise Michelle Bomber. More HERE
Give me 5
Child Poverty Action Group, Poverty Alliance and others call on Scottish Government to use social security powers to top-up child benefit by £5 per week for every child. More HERE
It’s not cool to be cruel
The Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee has published its report on prejudice-based bullying and harassment. Scottish Government must now take this into account before they publish the refreshed anti-bullying guidance called Respect for All. More HERE
Children and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development
As the US withdraws from the Paris Climate Change Deal, UNICEF has mapped the UNCRC and the worlds Sustainable Development Goals. Download the pdf doc HERE
I am Alice
The Prince’s Trust is working towards achieving the LGBT Charter of Rights – Alice writes in this blog about what that means. More HERE
ChildLine urges boys to speak out about suicidal feelings
Boys are less likely than girls to talk about suicidal thoughts. A new Tough to Talk campaign urges boys to speak out about their problems. More HERE
The relaunched resource guides users through a child-centred, collaborative process of identification, assessment, support and monitoring. More HERE
Coping is difficult – but I feel proud
A study published by the Commissioner explores the mental health and wellbeing of young carers in Scotland and reveals that more than one in four are doing the caring on their own. Download the pdf doc HERE
State of Child Health 2017
A wide-ranging report looking at 25 measures of child health, providing a snapshot of child health and wellbeing across the UK, with specific recommendations for Scotland. More HERE
Is there a link between childhood adversity, attachment style and Scotland’s excess mortality?
Harmful early years and childhood experiences have been proposed as a possible explanation for the excess of poor health and mortality seen in Scotland. More HERE
More school? Or more play?
Play is nature’s way to ensure children learn the skills they need for a healthy adult life. So why are we eroding children’s freedom and opportunity to play? TED Talk from Dr Peter Gray. More HERE
Child Sexual Exploitation: Definition and Practitioner Briefing Paper
A shared definition of child sexual exploitation will ensure that all practitioners and agencies use the same definition to facilitate joint risk assessments and effective multi-agency responses. More HERE
Trust your instincts
Resources for young people help them reflect on feelings and to act to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation. More HERE
CSE the signs
The new online resource is about helping to prevent child sexual exploitation. It explains what to look out for and how to stay safe, with advice and support, the one important thing is that the individual concerned or affected no longer feels alone. More HERE
PACE for parents
Parents against child sexual exploitation works to support parents and carers of children who are or at risk of sexual exploitation by perpetrators external to the family. More HERE
ChildLine 1:1 support for children and young people
Children and young people can access a counsellor for a confidential chat online. More HERE
Poverty in Scotland
One in eight children live in low income households and go without necessities. Just one fact in this summary of statistics on poverty developed jointly with the Poverty Truth Commission. More HERE
Refreshed GIRFEC information
New and revised online information now provides access to the relevant information with regard to what GIRFEC means for children, parents and families; and those who work in children's and adult services. More HERE
'Agenda for Change' framework for corporate parents
The framework is for organisations providing support services to care leavers. It helps with the preparation of corporate parenting plans and service delivery plans and details specific actions for corporate parents and outcomes for care leavers. More HERE
A free e-learning resource is about improving the lives of disabled children and young people. More
GIRFEC visual resources
In support of your work with the GIRFEC model you can now download a pdf of some key material from the PINS site as follows: ‘Well being wheel', ‘My world triangle’, ‘National practice model’. Download them HERE
GIRFEC video introduction
A 3 minute intro to GIFEC from the Scottish Government is now on YouTube HERE
GIRFEC young person’s leaflet
“The vital importance of getting it right for every child and young person” is a leaflet explaining the GIRFEC framework for children and young people. Go HERE
GIRFEC for children with exceptional healthcare needs
These new e-learning modules are suitable for all professionals working with children with complex and exceptional healthcare needs across Health, Social Care and 3rd Sector. More HERE
A focus on the Doran Review
Known after its Chairperson Peter Doran the so-called ‘Doran Review’ sets out the strategic vision for provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs in Scotland. In each of the drop down sections below we have summarised key elements of the Review for PINS members. Click below to open.
- Capability Scotland’s Corseford School in Renfrewshire
- Capability Scotland’s Stanmore House School, Lanark for children with complex needs
- Donaldson’s School, Linlithgow for children who are deaf/with severe communication difficulties
- Harmeny School in Balerno for children with SEBD
- The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh
- The Scottish Centre for children with Motor Impairments (Craighalbert) in Cumbernauld
- East Park School in Glasgow for children with significant learning difficulties with additional complex needs.
The full title of the Review is: “The Right Help at the Right Time in the Right Place: Strategic Review of Learning Provision for Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs”.
- There are seven grant-aided schools in Scotland which act as national centres and meet the needs of the most disabled children. However, with a focus on mainstreaming provision many have empty places, and Local Authorities have been considering the cost of such provision. With this in mind Peter Doran was asked to review learning provision.
- The Review recognises the need to look at every child as an individual and improve assessment of need across education, health and care. It also recognised the specific needs of children who are ‘looked after’ amongst those using the national centres.
- The report recognises ‘the emotional context of this review’. One parent described her approach like this: “I used to cry, now I fight”. Peter Doran says: “Tears arising from frustration and anger were evident in many of the conversations with parents and carers. Feelings of relief and joy that children and young people's needs were being met were also expressed”.
- The report also identifies the complexity of provision: “32 local authorities and 14 health boards provide services to support children and young people with complex additional support needs. Children and young people can require assistance from a range of professionals based in these bodies as well as from other statutory and voluntary agencies. The sheer complexity of services can be bewildering”.
- 40% of respondents to the Review process said that education services provided for children with complex additional support needs were doing ‘well’ or ‘very well’. However 20% thought provision was ‘poor’. Local Authority perspectives were sometimes at odds with those of parents.
- A major issue is whether it is the child’s needs which guide assessment, decisions and placements or whether it is their cost. Alongside this issue was a lack of coherent and child centred planning for children. This in turn impacted, the Review heard, on the provision of suitable equipment, services or support; again arguments over who would meet costs often defined what could be achieved.
- Parents had particular concerns about the capacity of some mainstream settings to meet the needs of children with complex needs. The Review also heard about a lack of effective and meaningful preparation for young people which would support their transition from secondary school to post school provision.
- The dedication of professionals is recognised by the Review, but it is also understood that this is not enough and there needs to be attention paid to professional knowledge and skills which inform the quality of care and teaching.
- The majority of respondents to the Review (82%) thought that Scotland should have national provision for complex needs. However the Review recognises that relationships between providers and purchasers (the Local Authorities) are strained and this needs to be addressed. The Review states: “Throughout the review process it was remarkable that providers and purchasers expressed a wish for more cooperation and partnership, improved trust and there was a particular emphasis on sharing expertise and building capacity. A strategic approach to planning and commissioning of services that centred on the best ways of meeting the needs of children and young people was widely supported. There were strong views that successful planning and commissioning processes must involve local authorities and health boards working together and sharing responsibilities”.
- Finally, the Review reports that children and young people with complex additional support needs have, like their peers, the right to express their views but the review indicated highly variable practices in schools and authorities in attempts to elicit and act upon the opinions of each individual. The review found that the children and young people interviewed had the same wishes for friends and family, a good social life and education which would equip them for adult life as well as being enjoyable. Individuals differed in their views of the kind of school they wanted to attend and showed enthusiasm and appreciation for both mainstream and special schools. Getting the right help at the right time in the right place from a sympathetic and respectful adult who understood and did not over protect was the key message.
The vision and principles that should underpin provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs are identified as follows:
- That children and young people, supported by their parents and/or carers, have an easily accessible route to early integrated assessment of, and provision for their complex additional support needs from the earliest stage of development.
- That services offered are responsive to changing needs, lead to the best possible outcomes and are delivered where possible within the home community.
- That there is a presumption of entitlement to the highest quality of services which should be inclusive, efficient, equitable and effective in meeting the assessed needs and promote optimum inclusion in society.
- That local and national provision are complementary and operate with coherence.
- That at all times, positive outcomes for children and young people with complex additional support needs and their families will drive policies.
- That we support the six principles of Curriculum for Excellence, including that all children and young people are entitled to a broad general education which develops their talents and personality, reflecting the ways different learners progress and addresses barriers standing in the way of learning.
- That this entitlement extends to the provision of the health, social care and support necessary to allow them to maximize educational opportunities.
- That the views and experiences of children, young people and their families will be reflected in the review's conclusions
- That all activity will be in line with the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and will seek to ensure that children and young people are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.
- That to be consistent with the principles for the commissioning of national services for children established by the National Residential Child Care Initiative (NRCCI), the review will promote a national sector which is shaped to deliver efficient and effective holistic educational outcomes in a manner which complements local authority provision and reflects Best Value.
- Scottish Government should require all organisations working with children and young people who have complex additional support needs to make public the values which underpin their policies and plans so as to ensure these are reflected in the way in which their staff go about assessing and meeting needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs and their families.
- Education Scotland, working with the GTCS and relevant training providers in universities, further education colleges, voluntary organisations and local authorities should consider how to lead and develop learning communities of expert professionals at local, regional and national levels to advise, support and contribute to the professional learning of teachers and other school staff working with complex additional support needs. Particular consideration should be given to how GLOW can support this development.
- In taking forward the advice of the National Partnership Group (NPG), Scottish Government should consult with the universities local authorities and accredited providers of professional development on how best to provide qualifications and courses for teachers of children and young people across the range of complex additional support needs.
- Within the GIRFEC framework which provides the approach to working with all children and young people further consideration should be given to what specific supports are required for those working with children and young people with complex additional support needs.
- Scottish Government should consider with the GTCS the establishment of a register of teachers with qualifications in meeting complex additional support needs in order to assist national workforce planning and ensure sufficient numbers of specialist staff.
- Local authorities should ensure that sufficient numbers of suitably qualified learning support staff continue to be available to support children and young people with complex additional support needs in their school placements.
- The Scottish Government should consider ways of ensuring that sufficient funding is provided to universities and other agencies in order to maintain their research and development capacities in the education and development of children and young people with complex additional support needs.
- Scottish Government through ENQUIRE should produce a comprehensive map of provision throughout Scotland for children and young people with complex additional support needs
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