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Special Educational Needs

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on his policy towards the inclusion in mainstream schools of children with Down's syndrome. [110328]

There is a clear Government commitment to the inclusion of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) in mainstream education. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 was a major milestone in promoting inclusion for children with disabilities or SEN, including those pupils with Down's syndrome.There is a general duty to educate children with special educational needs in mainstream schools unless this is against their Parent's wishes or incompatible with the efficient education of other children and there are no reasonable steps that can be taken by the LEA or the school to prevent that incompatibility. However, for some children a mainstream placement may not be right, or not right just yet and therefore provision in special schools will continue to play a vital role.Education Law does not distinguish between different types of SEN. Children with Down's syndrome will vary as widely in their development and progress as typically developing children and each will have their own talents and aptitudes. The degree of an individual child's SEN will be the determining factor of the type of provision required to meet their needs.