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What we do, and how we do it, is governed by a range of laws, policies and conventions. 

School, centre and authority policies are regularly being reviewed and updated to reflect Curriculum for Excellence requirements. Please contact the school or centre office if you would like more information.

The following references give a brief summary of the main ones and you can follow the links for more details on each.


Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

GIRFEC is the national approach in Scotland to improve outcomes and support the wellbeing of children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. The approach is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and is in place to benefit all children from birth to 18 years and beyond if they are still in school. GIRFEC is a way of working which empowers children, young people and their families by recognising and promoting their rights. 

The Ayrshire Child’s Pathway ensures effective delivery of GIRFEC as practitioners work as a Team Around the Child to improve wellbeing outcomes for all children and young people. Under GIRFEC every child has a Named Person who is their Health Visitor or Family Nurse and then their Head Teacher or Depute Head Teacher in Primary School and then their Guidance Teacher is Secondary School.  They are a central point of contact for children, young people and families and support, promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children by listening to concerns or questions and giving advice or signposting to other services.  All children who require additional support have a Child’s Plan to monitor their wellbeing and ensure their outcomes improve and children, young people and their parent(s), carer(s) are central to this.

There is a central Named Person Service that can be contacted by email:

The Ayrshire GIRFEC website has a section for parents and carers and young people.

See also Scottish Government: Getting it right for every child.

Pre-birth to three: positive outcomes for Scotland’s children and families

This acknowledges the significance of the time before birth and early years and how it can influence children’s future outcomes.

The guidance highlights the importance of attachment for young children to their parents and carers and the principles and philosophy underpin the Early Years Framework and Curriculum for Excellence.

It also emphasises that all adults working with Scotland’s youngest children have an important role in implementing the Early Years Framework, through giving all children the care, support and respect which they need.

Building the ambition (2014)

Building the Ambition sets the context for high quality early learning and childcare and complements the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (see below).

It aims to support those who are delivering early learning and childcare in different settings across Scotland.


Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

This is perhaps the most important piece of legislation and sets out a number of key requirements as follows:

Named person

This sets a requirement for Health Boards to provide children with a named person from birth up to when they go to school. Local authorities must provide children in schools with a named person from school age to 18, or until they leave school, whichever is later.

Lead professional

All children and young people who need support can access this from one person – called a lead professional – who will act as a single point of contact for the child, or family and co-ordinate the care required across a range of different services.

Child’s plan

Local authorities require to prepare a plan in relation to an individual child if it is considered that a child has a wellbeing need. This is required if it is considered that wellbeing cannot be met without targeted intervention.

Early learning and childcare

Local authorities must offer minimum of 600 hours of free early learning and childcare for all eligible children who reside in their area.

This includes 3 and 4 year-olds and those two year olds from households where the parent or carer is in receipt of certain benefits.

Two year-olds who are looked after under a kinship care order (or with a parent appointed guardian) are also eligible for early learning and childcare.

Looked after 2 year olds will have an integrated, multi-agency assessment using the GIRFEC process leading to a Child’s Plan, to improve wellbeing outcomes.

Local authorities may make alternative arrangements for a child’s early learning and childcare, where this appropriate.

Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

Early childhood centres

This sets up a system of registration and inspection for care services and a set of national standards.

The standards that apply to early education and childcare are used to monitor the quality of our services and how they comply with the Act.

Find out more at Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

You can find early childhood centre inspection reports on the Care Inspectorate website.

The Educational Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act 2009

This sets out the law relating to special needs and updates the same Act from 2004.

Some children may face difficulties (for a range of reasons) that act as a barrier to their learning. It requires that all schools and early childhood centres identify children with additional support needs and plan their education at the earliest possible stage.

Children identified as having additional support needs will be supported in a number of ways including an Action Plan (AP), an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) or a Co-ordinated Support Plan (CSP).

The Act also gives more rights to parents to request assessments for their child and places additional responsibilities on local authorities for children in their care.

The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006

Family law covers topics such as marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation, what happens when a relationship ends, relationships between parents and children, inheritance, succession and gender recognition.

Find out more at Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006.

Parental Involvement Act 2006

This helps boost how parents and schools work together to benefit from shared knowledge, helping our children to reach their full potential.

Find out more at Parental Involvement Act 2006.

Disability Strategies Pupils’ Educational Records (Scotland) Act 2002

This helps to promote positive attitudes towards disability in all Scottish schools and will help responsible bodies to ensure that they can meet their new duties under the amended Disability Discrimination Act 1995 - effective from September 2002.

Find out more at Disability Strategies Pupils Educational Records (Scotland) Act 2002.

Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act 2000

Declare that every child of school age has the right to a school education provided by an education authority and states that education should be “directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential.” It requires local authorities to:

  • secure pre-school education for all pre-school and ante pre-school children, where a parent wishes one
  • secure the right of every child to have a  school education

Find out more at Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2000.

Standards and quality report

The Education Service Standards and Quality Report 2021/22 (PDF 6.25MB) reaffirms our commitment to providing the very best learning opportunities for all our young people. We remain absolutely committed to ensuring our children have access to the highest standards of education delivered by dedicated staff in nurturing environments.

Education Scotland Act (1980)

This places a duty on every education authority to make sure their area has an adequate and efficient provision of school education and further education.

Find out more on the Education Scotland Act (1980).

Contact Information

Education Service
Council Headquarters
London Road
Telephone (General Enquiries): 07551 280834 or
Telephone (General Enquiries): 07721 857059 or

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