asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps have been taken to encourage local authorities to integrate visually handi- capped children in ordinary schools in cases where this is advisable.
The policy of the Department has long been that no handicapped child should attend a special school if his needs can be met by an ordinary school. The Vernon Report on the education of the visually handicapped recommended that further systematic experiments should be carried out with the education of children in ordinary schools. My right hon. Friend's predecessor said in June 1974 that this recommendation would no doubt be taken into account by the regional conferences of local education authorities which he hoped to promote to discuss the needs of all types of handicap; seven regions have now had initial meetings. In autumn 1974 the Department issued a pamphlet "Integrating Handicapped Children", which discussed the facilities and attitudes required if integration is to be successful.