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Special Needs Education

Volume 459: debated on Wednesday 2 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment he has made of special needs education in mainstream schools in England. (134768)

In October 2006 the Government published their response to the report from the Education and Skills Committee on special educational needs (SEN). The response referred to Ofsted’s report “Inclusion: does it matter where pupils are taught?” (July 2006) which showed significant improvements in SEN provision since publication of Ofsted’s 2004 survey “Special Educational Needs and Disability: towards inclusive schools?”

Ofsted’s 2006 report found that there was little difference in the quality of provision and outcomes for pupils across primary, secondary and special schools. It added, however, that mainstream schools with additionally resourced provision were particularly successful in achieving high outcomes for pupils academically, socially and personally. High quality, specialist teachers and a commitment by leaders to create opportunities to include all pupils were the keys to success but the report noted that pupils in mainstream schools where support from teaching assistants was the main type of provision were less likely to make good academic progress than those who had access to specialist teaching.

The Government’s response to the Select Committee noted that Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools had been asked to review progress on SEN provision in 2009/10. Her review will include reporting on the progress made under the Government's SEN strategy, “Removing Barriers to Achievement”, in building teachers’ skills in providing for children with SEN.