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Mentally Handicapped Children

Volume 890: debated on Monday 14 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many authorities in Scotland have notified their proposals to him for implementation of the Education (Mentally Handicapped Children) (Scotland) Act; and what steps he is taking to ensure implementation of that Act by all authorities.

Education authorities are not required to give separate notification of their proposals. I intend, however, to call for revised schemes of educational provision from the new authorities shortly after they assume their responsibilities, and the provision they propose to make for mentally handicapped children will be covered in these schemes. I have already given guidance on various aspects of the implementation of the Act, which will necessarily be a gradual process, and I shall continue to keep the situation under review.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many authorities have asked for additional borrowing consents or grants in order to implement the Education (Mentally Handicapped Children) (Scotland) Act.

Any expenditure required in this connection will be met from capital investment allocations already agreed. Within these allocations, I am aware of 15 projects providing new or replacement accommodation for severely mentally handicapped children, now under construction or expected to start within the next 18 months, at an estimated cost of over £1·75 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements have been made for the additional training of staff in order to assist local authorities to implement the Education (Mentally Handicapped Children) (Scotland) Act, due to be implemented after 15th May 1975.

The content of new courses designed for instructors in day care centres is under consideration by a committee of the Scottish Council for Technical Education and it is hoped that the first of these courses will be available in one or more further education colleges in the autumn. In addition the number of places available to teachers on in-service courses at colleges of education leading to the qualification to teach handicapped children has more than doubled in the last three years, and the length of the course has been extended from four months to a full session.