CHILDREN with profound disabilities should be offered the option of deferring their primary education for a year and offered extra funded childcare, the SNP have agreed.

Aberdeenshire councillor Louise McAllister – who put forward the resolution to SNP conference - told The National last week a "postcode lottery" of some councils supporting parents in this situation while other local authorities do not must be ended.

As things stand, if a child is due to turn five between August and mid-February – whenever the cut-off date may be in the year in question – they are automatically entitled to have their education deferred for another year and receive an extra 12 months of funded early learning and childcare.

But if a child turns five before the start of the school year in August - no matter their circumstances or how close to the start of the year they have turned five - they are expected to start school.

This has meant some councils offer an extra funded year of childcare to children with complex medical needs while others do not.

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But the SNP have now recommended all Scottish councils should allow for children with a profound disability to defer their education and have one additional funded year of early learning.

McAllister hopes this will lead to an alteration in legislation to reflect this.

McAllister told the conference: “Some local authorities do support and offer children with complex medical needs, in exceptional circumstances, on a case-by-case basis the opportunity to access an additional funded year of early learning and childcare. However, this is discretionary.

“Other local authorities will not embed best practice for those very families and their children who most need that inclusive, transformative and life affirming support.

“This additional year can allow for a further full year of growth and development - cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth, meaning the child at the centre can have the best chance of progressing through their education setting successfully and onto a productive childhood and adulthood.

“Play-led learning in primary one and two should allow for a comfortable transition from nursery to primary school, but it is beyond these years my interests lie. In particular, I’m thinking of those key moments of transition at the end of primary when the focus becomes more structured, more academic, and may include school trips and time away from a familiar school base. And then of course the transition to secondary education.

“If we are to support all our citizens to become successful learners, confident individuals and effective contributors, then we must do all we can to provide all our citizens with  the best possible opportunity to achieve all they can.”