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Special Needs Standards

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much (a) the Government and (b) local authorities have spent commissioning Edison to help local authorities to meet special needs standards; (79167)

(2) what role Edison is playing in helping local authorities to meet special needs standards; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has not commissioned Edison Schools UK, nor has it made an assessment of the role Edison is playing, to help local authorities meet their duties in regard to special educational needs (SEN). Local authorities have duties to identify, assess and arrange suitable provision for children with SEN and to keep their arrangements for special educational provision under review. Local authorities can buy in consultancy advice to help them with their special needs duties, as can schools, including special schools. The Department does not record how much local authorities have spent commissioning Edison nor what, if any, of this has been spent on SEN consultancy. Through programmed annual performance assessments and periodic joint area reviews of children's services, Ofsted and other inspectorates inspect how local authorities meet their duties, including any arrangements they make with private or voluntary sector organisations.