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Learning Disability: Salford

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps have been taken to improve educational outcomes for children with (a) moderate and (b) severe learning difficulties in Salford; and what vocational training opportunities are available to such people. (311672)

Salford has been focusing on narrowing the gap in achievement between all pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and their peers, working with schools on using the inclusion development programme, which improves the skills of the workforce in meeting the needs of children with SEN and preparing to roll-out progression guidance, which supports schools in setting high expectations for what children with SEN should achieve.

Salford's special schools are increasingly providing outreach support to mainstream schools to build their capacity and better support their pupils.

Salford is also part of the Greater Manchester Challenge and is benefiting from additional investment to extend the great practice that already exists within the city region, finding innovative methods and local solutions to crack the cycle of disadvantage and educational underachievement.

As a result, Salford has narrowed the gaps between pupils with SEN and their peers at both key stage 2 and key stage 4. The percentage of pupils with SEN making three levels of progress across key stage 3 and 4 has also risen significantly.

The LSC has invested funding into a variety of projects which focus on improving educational outcomes in Salford. It is recognised that a high proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) when they leave school will have SEN. Current projects include:

Providing additional support and personalised learning programmes to young people who, during key stage four, are identified as becoming at risk of disengaging from learning.

Working with learners in an individual way through foundation learning to deliver clear progression pathways; and

Engagement with employers to develop supported work placements and training and to provide progression routes for learners with more complex learning difficulties and/or disabilities. It will also help partners to build capacity and provide adult learners with opportunities to develop their skills.

The funding set aside for expenditure on SEN in 2009-10 by Salford LA is £23,803,0001.

1 These figures include the Individual Schools' Budget for special schools, spending in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools identified as "notional SEN", the centrally retained element of the school budget, and the SEN element of the LA budget.