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.

Cost of the School Day report published

Political focus and investment in Scotland is currently directed towards narrowing the poverty attainment gap: this can’t happen if the poverty related barriers which shape and limit children’s opportunities at school aren’t first taken into account. More HERE

Scottish Autism puts the IS in autism

The digital campaign demonstrates that people on the autism spectrum have potential, skills, talents and aspirations, and that it IS possible to achieve the outcomes that are meaningful to them. More HERE

Safeguarders Research

Little research has been conducted to explore the conditions under which Safeguarders are appointed or the impact that their appointment has on the process. This study explores the role of Safeguarders from the perspectives of various stakeholders in the process, including social workers, panel members and Safeguarders themselves. More HERE

Going to a Children’s Hearing film

Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration (SCRA) launch a film for children and young people. More HERE

Disability Matters

A free e-learning resource is about improving the lives of disabled children and young people.  More

The National Third Sector Getting it Right for Every Child Project

The overall objective of the project is to leave a legacy that ensures Third Sector involvement is integral to CPP planning processes. More HERE

Attachment Theory and Practice

Elizabeth King discusses the key prominent psychological theories influencing clinical interventions, teaching approaches and child-care policies. More HERE

Foster Care Review Progress Report

Scottish Government has published a progress report on implementing recommendations from the 2013 Foster Care Review. More HERE

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

Child Protection and Disability Toolkit

The Toolkit is aimed at practitioners and managers in child and family and disability services. It includes information on research, a set of training and resource materials, ‘myth busters’, case studies and a DVD in which disabled parents speak of their experiences. More HERE

National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014

The 2010 guidance is refreshed to ensure that it remains relevant and up to date for local agencies and practitioners working together to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children. More HERE

A guide to evaluating wellbeing in schools and nurseries

This new guide helps professionals to develop the Getting it Right for Every Child approach in education settings. Staff are already using the guide to structure discussion and work through their own audit processes. There is also a version aimed at supporting third sector organisations to consider wellbeing in the context of their organisation and service to improve outcomes for service users. More HERE

Does money affect children’s outcomes?

Evidence abounds that children in lower-income households do less well than their peers on many outcomes, including in health and education. This Joseph Rowntree Foundation study reviews the evidence. 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 the arrows 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Scottish Government through ENQUIRE should produce a comprehensive map of provision throughout Scotland for children and young people with complex additional support needs
You can find the full Doran Review report HERE


If you have examples of practice, innovative approaches, learning and experience to share please get in touch by emailing

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