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Special Educational Needs

Volume 281: debated on Tuesday 16 July 1996

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when the information about advice, counselling and advocacy for parents of children with special educational needs, currently being gathered by the Scottish Office, will be made available to parents; and in what form. [37014]

Views were invited by 1 July 1996 from statutory bodies, voluntary organisations and others on the content, layout and format of the Scottish Office publication, "A Parents Guide to Special Educational Needs".A wide range of detailed responses has been made and these are being given careful consideration. The aim is to have a revised version of the guide available before the end of this year. The current edition of the guide is available in printed form in English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Cantonese and also in English on audio cassette. Views were sought from those consulted on appropriate formats for the revision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy on advocacy for children and the parents of children with special educational needs during the preparation of a record of needs. [37016]

The Scottish Office encourages openness and co-operation between all parties involved in the preparation of a record of needs and acknowledges that advocacy for children and the parents of children with special educational needs, where an involved party feels it appropriate, can contribute to the process.To support this the Scottish Office has assisted the national voluntary organisation, Children in Scotland, to establish the special needs forum which provides information and training about special educational needs for parents and voluntary organisations. It also provided financial assistance to that organisation to publish "A Special Partnership", a guide book for named persons and parents, to help them to participate more effectively in the recording processes. Additionally, I have asked the Scottish Office, in the light of responses received to the consultation about the new version of its publication, "A Parents' Guide to Special Educational Needs", to review the need for further encouragement and guidance about advocacy services.