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Teachers: Special Educational Needs

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what training is provided to students studying for (a) a bachelor’s degree and (b) a postgraduate certificate in education on supporting children with speech, language and communication difficulties; (166391)

(2) what proportion of the (a) bachelor’s degree in education and (b) postgraduate qualifications in teaching courses are made up of learning relevant to identifying and supporting children with (i) a disability and (ii) speech and language difficulties; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 20 November 2007]: All accredited providers of initial teacher training (ITT) must design their programmes to ensure that they meet the Secretary of State’s Requirements for ITT, and that all trainees demonstrate the Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). These standards are statutory and are rigorously inspected by Ofsted. They were reviewed recently along with all classroom teacher standards and new standards, effective from September 2007, have been significantly strengthened in the areas of special needs and disability. There is no prescription as to how much time must be spent on individual elements of training; the standards are outcome statements, and training must be sufficiently personalised to ensure that every trainee, irrespective of their training route, meets all of them before being recommended for QTS.

To be awarded QTS, all trainee teachers currently must demonstrate that they:

know how to make effective personalised provision for those they teach, including those who have special educational needs and disabilities (including children and young people with speech, language and learning difficulties); and

know and understand the roles of colleagues with specific responsibilities including those with responsibility for learners with special educational needs and disabilities, and other individual learning needs (including colleagues that have specific responsibility for children and young people with speech, language and learning difficulties).