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Special Schools

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advice his Department provides to local education authorities on the role of special schools in the teaching of students with (a) special educational needs and (b) behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. (86011)

[holding answer 17 July 2006]: Our SEN strategy “Removing Barriers to Achievement” makes clear that we see a vital and continuing role for special schools. The Government believe that special schools have an important role to play within the overall spectrum of provision for children with special educational needs—educating some children directly and sharing their expertise with mainstream schools. We are promoting the participation of special schools in the Department’s diversity programmes, including the Specialist Schools Programme, to make the most of the skills and expertise in the special sector, by promoting collaboration, outreach, training and other activities.

Special schools are specially organised to make provision for pupils with special educational needs, so all special schools will teach pupils with special educational needs. There is a wide spectrum of special educational needs that are frequently inter-related. Needs fall broadly into four areas: communication and interaction; cognition and learning; behaviour, emotional and social development; and sensory and/or physical.

The Department through its National Primary and Secondary Strategies provides materials designed to raise standards in teaching and learning for both special and mainstream schools.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the work of special schools; and what role he plans for such schools in the provision of education for children with special needs. (86417)

In 2003 we published the ‘The Report of the Special Schools Working Group’ which mapped out a future programme for the special schools sector. The report proposed that special schools should increasingly cater for the population of children with severe and complex needs; that they should be outward-looking centres of expertise and work more collaboratively with mainstream schools.

Our SEN strategy “Removing Barriers to Achievement” made it clear that we see a vital and continuing role for special schools. Special schools have an important role to play within the overall spectrum of provision for children with special educational needs educating some children directly and sharing their expertise with mainstream schools. We are promoting the participation of special schools in the Department’s diversity programmes, including the Specialist Schools Programme, to make the most of the skills and expertise in the special sector, by promoting collaboration, outreach, training and other activities.