Skip to main content

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons he proposes a UK reservation to Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; what discussions he has had with representatives of devolved administrations in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland on his proposal; and if he will make a statement. (269034)

The UK Government propose to enter an interpretative declaration and a reservation in respect of article 24 of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The interpretative declaration will make clear that the UK general education system includes both mainstream and special schools, thereby clarifying how the UK Government interpret the convention. This will make it clear that special schools are considered part of the UK's general education system and that parents have the right to express a preference for a special school. A reservation will allow for circumstances where disabled children's needs may be best met through specialist provision, which may be some way from their homeā€”so they will need to be educated outside their local community. This also maintains parental choice for schools outside the local community.

I met representatives from the Northern Ireland Assembly on 11 December 2008, and of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament on 14 December 2008. The Government's proposals for ratifying the convention, including the declaration and reservation in respect of article 24 were discussed at these meetings.