Solving problems

Helping children get the support they need to get the most from school.

There are different ways a child with additional support needs aged 12 – 15 can use their rights if they are unhappy with decisions about their additional support for learning.

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We can help you with advice and information.

If a child isn’t getting the support they need, they don’t like the way the support is provided or they don’t think they are being listened to, they can talk to their school about how they feel. My Rights, My Say advocacy can help them share their views.

There are also more options available if a child has tried to talk to their school and still isn’t happy.

Independent adjudication

Children aged 12 – 15 with additional support needs have the right to ask for independent adjudication. My Rights, My Say advocacy can also help a child understand and ask for independent adjudication.

Independent adjudication is where an independent person looks at the disagreement a child is having with their local authority and makes suggestions about how to resolve it. This person is called an Independent Adjudicator. They will not be from a child’s school or local¬†authority but will have experience of working with children with additional support needs.

The child and local authority will, in writing, explain what they think the disagreement is about and what they think a solution might be.

The independent adjudicator will look at what they have written and any other paperwork about the disagreement including minutes of meetings, emails, letters or reports. They will then write a report making their suggestions about what they think will resolve the disagreement.

Enquire has a factsheet explaining independent adjudication.


Enquire Factsheet: Resolving disagreements using Independent adjudication
Child friendly guide to independent adjuducation

A child can ask for independent adjudication if they disagree with their local authority about:

– whether they have additional support needs or what type of support needs they have.
– asking for an assessment of their needs or the way an assessment was done.
– the support they receive or support they need but are not given.
Рthe help a child needs from an organisation other than their school, for example from the NHS or social work.

To ask for independent adjudication, a child must write a letter to Scottish Ministers. My Rights, My Say advocacy can help them do that. Use the Contact us form to ask for or find out more about advocacy.


Contact us

Scottish Ministers will get in touch with the child’s local authority. The local authority will then let the child know whether they agree to independent adjudication or not.

My Rights, My Say advocacy can help them to understand what happens next. Use the Support for children link below to find out more.


Support for children

Additional Support Needs Tribunal

Some children have the right to make a reference to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal. My Rights, My Say advocacy can help a child to make a reference if they decide they want to do this.

The full name of the Additional Support Needs Tribunal is the Health and Education Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.

It is made up of a group of experts who look into disagreements about extra support in school.

Enquire has a factsheet on resolving disagreements which explains more about the Tribunal


Enquire factsheet: Resolving disagreements

If a child is aged 12 – 15 and has additional support needs they can ask the Tribunal to look into disagreements with their school or local authority about:

– their capacity to use their rights
– whether using their rights will have a negative impact on their well-being
– whether they need a Co-ordinated Support Plan
– whether their Co-ordinated support plan should be reviewed or closed
– disagreements about the plans made for a child when they leave school.

Any child, regardless of age, can ask the Tribunal to look into whether they have treated differently because they have a disability.

If a child has a My Rights, My Say or other advocacy worker they will be able to help them make a reference to the Tribunal. This includes filling in the reference form.

If a child does not have an advocacy worker and they are aged between 12 and 15 they can get in touch with My Rights, My Say who will help them make a reference.

The Tribunal has a website called Needs to Learn which explains how to make a reference.


Contact us
Needs to learn

No. My Rights, My Say will provide legal representation to a child who makes a reference to the Tribunal. This will be provided by a lawyer called Iain Nisbet.

Iain will meet with the child and listen to the reasons for making a reference to the Tribunal. He will then make sure that all the information and paperwork the Tribunal needs to make a decision is sent to them within the right timescales.

Iain will act on behalf of the child during the Tribunal proceedings. This includes during any case conference calls as well as the Tribunal hearing itself. He will also deal with any legal paperwork.


Find out more about Iain
Contact us

Parents will be able to attend the Tribunal proceedings and be part of any case conference calls and meetings if the child agrees.

Yes. Parents and carers have the right to make a reference to the Tribunal. Enquire has lots of information for parents about how to do this. Visit their website using the link below or contact their helpline on 0345 123 2303.

Lets Talk ASN offers advice and support for parents thinking about making a reference to the Tribunal.


Enquire – helping you understand additional support for learning
Let’s Talk ASN