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Children: Armed Forces

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to improve the transfer of the (a) records and (b) special needs statements of service children with high mobility; and if he will make a statement. (138794)

Under The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005, when any pupil moves from one school to another the ‘old’ school must transfer the pupil’s common transfer file and education record within 15 school days of the child ceasing to be registered at the school. Where a pupil has special educational needs (SEN) the common transfer file will include the type of special educational provision that is being made.

For children with SEN statements who move between local authority areas there is a statutory process, set out in the SEN Code of Practice, for the old authority to transfer the statement to the new authority. The new authority must tell the parents within six weeks of the date of transfer when they will review the statement and whether they propose to reassess the child. Until such time as the new authority amends the statement they are under a duty to arrange the special educational provision set out on the statement.

A new forum, the Service Children’s Education Forum, has been established, with representatives from this Department, the devolved administrations and the Ministry of Defence, to examine difficulties faced by Service children as they move in, or between, the different education authorities of the UK and between the UK and overseas. The forum is exploring a number of strands of work including those of mobility and continuity of SEN support. A Mitigating Mobility project led by the Service Children’s Education Agency is producing best practice guidance and the Service Children in State Schools Forum—an advisory group of schools in England with a high proportion of Service children—is contributing to this (and associated) work.