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Special Educational Needs

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many statements of individual children’s special needs were compiled by local education authorities in 2006; how many recommended funding towards education at a special needs school; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the statement assessment system. (134871)

22,600 new statements were issued for children with special educational needs in 2006.

Statements set out details of children’s special educational needs, the provision to meet those needs and the school the child should attend. Once a statement is finalised local authorities are under a duty to arrange the specified provision. Of the new statements issued in 2006, 5,330 were for children placed in special schools. 4,870 children were placed in maintained special schools (including foundation schools); 110 were placed in non-maintained special schools; and 360 were placed in independent special schools. (Figures are taken from the SEN 2 Survey 2007 and are provisional.)

The Department’s team of SEN advisers following visits to all 150 local authorities, report proactive dialogue with parents on statutory assessment matters. Excluding cases where it was impractical to comply with timescales, 95 per cent. of draft statements were produced in the 18 week statutory timescale in 2006.

The outcomes achieved by vulnerable groups of learners, including many children with SEN, are improving, for example, the proportion of children with SEN (with and without statements) achieving 5 A* to C grades at GCSE continues to rise.

Ofsted’s survey “Inclusion: does it matter where pupils are taught?” (July 2006) also reported significant improvements in SEN provision since the publication of their previous survey in 2004.