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Pupils: Sight Impaired

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in what formats educational material for visually impaired and dyslexic children are provided by his Department; how much has been allocated for provision of such material; and if he will make a statement. (174336)

Local authorities and schools are funded to provide services for children with special educational needs (SEN). It is for local authorities and schools to determine how best to use resources to overcome barriers to achievement—including the provision of educational material in alternative formats where that is appropriate. The Education Act 1996 requires local authorities, schools and early years settings to have regard to the SEN Code of Practice which provides advice on carrying out statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for pupils' special educational needs.

Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requires schools and local authorities to plan to improve access to the curriculum and written materials for disabled pupils over time. In addition, the new Disability Equality Duty introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 requires all public bodies including schools and local authorities to promote disability equality more widely.

The Department does not generally provide educational materials to children. However, we are currently working with a range of stakeholders including the RNIB and British Dyslexia Association, to look at ways of improving the provision of books and educational material in accessible formats.