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Handicapped Students

Volume 115: debated on Friday 8 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he intends to take in response to the survey of provisions for students with special educational needs in further and higher education undertaken for his Department by the National Bureau for Handicapped Students; and if he will make a statement.

This survey report was commissioned by my right hon. Friend to provide the first full statistical summary of students with special educational needs in maintained, assisted and grant-aided institutions of further and higher education, and the courses provided for them. The Government intend to update this information periodically. They have been aware of developments in this area and have already taken related initiatives. A working group was set up last year to consider the training needs of further education college staff concerned with students with special needs, and its report will be published in the summer. Training for certain categories of such staff and local education authority staff has been made a national priority area under the LEA training grants scheme announced last year. An earlier initiative funded by the Government provided in 1985 a resource pack for teachers of students with special needs in colleges of further education. And the further education unit, which the Government fund, has also undertaken much valuable work in the special needs field in recent years, including the publication of guidance to colleges.