2.1 The Scottish context

As we consider the educational provision for autistic children and young people in Scotland, it is important to acknowledge and consider the national agenda, legislative and guidance context that local authorities, educational practitioners and health care professionals work within. Scotland’s education system is an inclusive one and designed to make sure that every child and young person is entitled to support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities that their education can provide.

Scotland’s ‘child-centred needs-led’ education system has been designed to ensure that the provision of support for a child or young person is not dependent upon them receiving a formal label or identification of need, such as autism, dyslexia or a physical disability.

The Scottish vision for inclusive education, which applies to all settings and for all children and young people, is set out below:

‘Inclusive education in Scotland starts from the belief that education is a human right and the foundation for a more just society. An inclusive approach which recognises diversity and holds the ambition that all children and young people are enabled to achieve to their fullest potential is the cornerstone to achieve equity and excellence in education for all of our children and young people.’

(Presumption to provide education in a mainstream setting: guidance. The Scottish Government, 2019)

Presumption to provide education in a mainstream setting: guidance - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Children’s rights and entitlements are fundamental to Scotland’s approaches to inclusive education. It is supported by the legislative framework and key policy drivers including the ‘Getting it right for every child’ approach, Curriculum for Excellence and the Framework for Professional Standards for teachers. These are underpinned by a set of values aligned to social justice and commitment to inclusive education. This means that inclusive education should be the heart of all areas of educational planning.

Figure 5 below provides you with an overview of the Scottish education and equality context.

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Figure 5 The Scottish context – overview

2 The Scottish context for autism and inclusion

2.2 Legislative and policy frameworks