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Learning Disability

Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to improve the detection of learning difficulties in children at an early age. (126623)

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice gives guidance to early years settings and primary schools on identification, assessment and making provision for all children with SEN, including those with learning difficulties. SEN Coordinators in early years settings and schools facilitate early identification and intervention for children with SEN.

The Government’s SEN strategy “Removing Barriers to Achievement” (2004) set out a long-term programme for improving identification of and provision for children with SEN, including early identification and intervention. The Government’s response to the Education and Skills Committee’s report on SEN renewed this strategy and set out a programme for building capacity in the children’s workforce to identify and meet children’s SEN.

The Government have introduced a number of measures to increase the take up of child care, meaning that more children will have access to the services and facilities required for effective early identification of a child’s needs and intervention. In addition £50 million has been allocated between 2006 and 2008 for the Transformation Fund to improve the quality of the child care workforce. One of the key aims is to provide training to help professionals identify and work with children with additional needs. Early identification and intervention is also central to the new statutory framework for children from birth to five, the Early Years Foundation Stage, which comes into force in September 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the percentage of people in England who have undertaken tests for learning difficulties. (126624)