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Education (Scotland) Act 2016

Amendment of section 18: references to Tribunal

93.Paragraph 16(a) of the schedule to the Act amends section 18(2) of the 2004 Act, the effect of which is to allow a child referred to in new subsection (2A) to make a reference to an Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland in connection with any education authority decisions, the provision of information by authorities or any education authority failures under the 2004 Act.

94.Paragraph 16(b) of the schedule to the Act inserts new subsection (2A) into section 18. New subsection (2A) provides that a child may only make a reference to the Tribunal under new section 18(1) if the child is aged 12 or over, and if the Tribunal is satisfied that the child has capacity to make the reference and that it would not have an adverse impact on the child’s wellbeing. The effect of this new subsection is to require the Tribunal to assess the capacity and consider the impact on the child’s wellbeing if they seek to make a reference to the Tribunal.

95.Paragraph 16(c) of the schedule to the Act amends section 18(3) of the 2004 Act to make it clear that an education authority decision (a) in relation to the capacity of a child aged 12 or over to exercise a right and (b) that the authority is satisfied in relation to a matter relating to the impact on the wellbeing of a child are decisions which may be referred to the Tribunal under section 18.

96.Paragraph 16(d) of the schedule to the Act inserts new subsections (8), (9), (10) and (11) into section 18 of the 2004 Act. Section 18(7) prevents a second reference being made to the Tribunal within 12 months of a previous reference having been made in relation to a decision referred to in section 18(3)(d) or (e) (references in relation to information, decisions and failures relating to coordinated support plans and decisions refusing placing requests), subject to the excepted circumstances listed. The effect of new subsection (8), for example, is to make it clear that a second or subsequent placing request reference to the Tribunal within a 12 month period cannot be made regardless of whether the reference is in relation to a placing request at the same school or a different school.

97.The effect of subsections (9) and (10) is that an exception is made to the general provision in section 18(7), where a placing request reference has been made within the 12 month period but withdrawn prior to any hearing. In such circumstances, a further request can be made within the 12 month period and the President of the Tribunal will have discretion to agree to its proceeding.

98.Subsection (11) provides that subsection (7) also applies in relation to decisions referred to in subsection (3)(ea) or (eb) (decisions of an education authority in relation to the capacity of a child aged 12 or over to exercise a right under the Act and decisions of an education authority that it is or is not satisfied as respects a matter relating to the wellbeing of such a child), but only where any further reference would relate to the same right as mentioned in subsection (3)(ea) or the same matter as mentioned in subsection (3)(eb).

99.This therefore means that it will be competent to make a reference to the Tribunal in relation to an education authority decision referred to in section 18(3)(ea) or (eb) on a child’s capacity and wellbeing if it relates to the exercise of a different right under the 2004 Act (for example right to request assessment and right to express a view) within 12 months.

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