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Guidance on partnership working between allied health professions and education



This Guidance on partnership working between allied health professions and education sits within the wider Scottish Government legislative and policy context. This includes the concordat between national and local government. The guidance is offered in the spirit of the concordat as a guide to what is considered to be good practice within the area of partnership working.

The summary contained in this appendix highlights the most relevant areas of legislation and policy which influence partnership working. The current policies leave us in no doubt that partnership working is integral to our day to day business. More information and links to relevant legislation, policy and guidance are contained on the website associated with the Guidance on partnership working between allied health professions and education -http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Schools/welfare/partnershipworking .

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the legal framework which underpins the system for identifying and addressing the additional support needs of children and young people who face a barrier to learning. The Act aims to ensure that all children and young people are provided with the necessary support to help them work towards achieving their full potential. It also promotes collaborative working among all those supporting children and young people and sets out parents' rights within the system. The Act, along with associated regulations, details timescales for sharing of information and carrying out assessments to determine whether a child or young person has additional support needs or meets the criteria for a co-ordinated support plan. The Act has been subsequently amended by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009.

Supporting children's learning: The Code of Practice (2009) will replace the original code of practice published in 2005 in order to take account of the 2009 Act. It explains the duties on education authorities and other agencies to support children's and young people's learning. It provides guidance on the Act's provisions as well as on the supporting framework of regulations. The code also sets out arrangements for avoiding and resolving differences between families and authorities. The Code is currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Code will be published in autumn 2010.

Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan sets out a range of measures to improve the quality of the National Health Service in Scotland. The Institute of Medicine's six dimensions of quality form the key foundation to healthcare quality improvement: person-centred care, safe, effective, efficient, equitable and timely. Priority areas for action include supporting staff, and patients and parents/carers to create partnerships which result in shared decision making. This includes improving partnership working between NHSScotland and Local Authorities. The action plan aims to tackle health inequalities through improved co-operation and collaboration both across NHSScotland and between NHSScotland and its partners. This clearly sits very well with the current guidance on improving partnership working between education and allied health professionals.

Equally Well is the report of the ministerial task force on health inequalities. The recommendations contained in Equally Well mean that staff in a whole range of public services need some new skills and may work increasingly across organisational boundaries. Equally Well recognises that staff across professions and disciplines need to do their jobs in a way which is sensitive to inequalities. The task force also wanted to see more joined up thinking about key worker roles, based on research and what is already known about effectiveness. This links with the guidance on partnership working which highlights what is considered to be good practice in partnership working and staff working across professional boundaries to benefit children, young people and their families.

The Early Years Framework was published in December 2008. It focuses on maximising opportunities for all Scotland's children to get the best start in life, no matter what their background or circumstances. The framework is built on the principle of early identification and early intervention. It identifies key elements of transformational changes that are needed to realise the ambitious outcomes of the framework. This includes simplifying and streamlining delivery and more effective collaboration. This ties in with the guidance on partnership working which aims to support these elements of the Early Years Framework.

Getting it right for every child ( GIRFEC) drives developments to change the way adults think and act to help all children and young people grow, develop and reach their full potential. It requires a positive shift in culture, systems and practice across services for children, young people and adults. It is a fundamental way of working that builds on research and practical evidence to help practitioners focus on what makes a positive difference for children and young people. A fundamental part of GIRFEC is services collaborating to provide the right support at the right time for individual children, young people and their families. This guidance reinforces the principles of GIRFEC and encourages health and education partners to put these into practice in order to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.

Curriculum for Excellence is designed to enable all children and young people in Scotland to gain the knowledge and skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work which will help them to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. Throughout the guidance on partnership working it has been made clear how allied health professionals can work with colleagues in education to support the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. In particular they have a role to play in the literacy outcomes and experiences and in health and wellbeing outcomes and experiences. Curriculum for Excellence is for all learners. It should lead to improved quality of learning and teaching as well as increased achievement and attainment for all children and young people.

Skills for Scotland: A lifelong skills strategy (2007) is a framework to show how all of the constituent parts of the education and learning systems can contribute to giving Scotland a skills base that is world class. Partnership working is a strong feature of the skills strategy and of More Choices, More Chances: A strategy to reduce the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training in Scotland. The partnership working referred to in these documents refers mainly to partnerships between education and employers rather than education and health. However, allied health professionals are likely to be involved in preparing vulnerable young people for adult life and work.

Partnership Matters (2007) provides guidance to local authorities, NHS boards and voluntary organisations on supporting students with additional support needs in further and higher education. Partnership Matters sets out the roles and responsibilities of all the agencies involved and encourages a partnership approach to cross-agency working. The current guidance on partnership working will support this process by clarifying roles of those in health and education.

NHS Boards have been key partners in developing and implementing the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) Act (2007). NHS boards have engaged in Community Planning with education and children's services partners to take forward health promotion in all schools in Board areas. The Act requires schools to be health promoting by providing activities, the environment and facilities which promote physical, social, mental and emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people. Schools can do this on their own or with health. In the best practice schools work with partners to identify and meet the health needs of the school. They can do this by providing focused programmes within accessible environments for all children and young people.

There is a range of policies over a number of years which have identified the importance of partnership working. Health for all children ( HALL4) in 2005 sets out the core programme of screening, surveillance and health promotion contacts which every child should receive. Central to this core programme is the notion that this will be carried out in partnership with relevant agencies, including local authorities.

A Scottish Executive review of speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy for children and speech and language therapy for adults with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder (2003) called on service providers to develop new methods of working in non-traditional and inclusive settings. These settings included mainstream schools and nurseries and other community settings. The current guidance on partnership working is a further development of some of the recommendations contained in the 2003 report including the call on all local authorities and NHSScotland boards to develop integrated approaches to the provision of therapy and other related interventions for children and young people.

Building on success: future directions for the allied health professions in Scotland (2002) set out a vision of allied health professions who support the development of best practice in multi-professional teams. The current guidance on partnership working builds upon this vision and contributes to making this vision a practical reality.

In addition to the specific pieces of legislation and polices outlined above there are cross-cutting pieces of legislation or policy which are relevant to those who are working in partnership. These include the Scottish Schools (Parental involvement) Act 2006, which aims to increase parental involvement in their child's education.