asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether funding letters for (a) the Training and Development Agency for Schools; (b) the General Teaching Council for England; (c) the School Teachers Review Body; (d) the National College for School Leadership; and (e) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority contained provisions specifically relating to increasing the knowledge base and skills of the children's workforce with regards to children's speech, language and communication needs; and whether they will set out for each what those provisions were. [HL1489]
There is no specific mention of children's speech, language and communication needs in the current remit letters for either the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), or the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). The TDA's remit letter does, however, require the agency to work with officials to improve coverage of SEN and disability issues in teacher training, and speech, language and communication needs come within that broad brief.
The NCSL has a remit to ensure that school leaders have the necessary skills to ensure that the needs of all pupils are met. The QCA is the national authority for qualifications, curriculum and assessment and standards in England. Its remit covers qualifications for both young people and adults. From April 2008, an interim regulator will be established that will be responsible for carrying out the regulatory functions of QCA. The DCSF does not issue funding letters to the School Teachers Review Body or the General Teaching Council for England.
In the light of the Children's Plan, which sets out the Government's ambitions for the educational attainment and wider well-being of children and young people, remit letters for 2008-09 are being developed for the QCA, NCSL and TDA.
The Children's Plan acknowledges the need to provide additional support to speech and language services in tackling barriers to learning. It also includes a commitment to invest further in the inclusion development programme (IDP), which aims to increase the skills of the whole early years and school workforce in dealing with children with speech, language and communication needs.
The noble Baroness will be aware that on 11 September 2007 the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and the Secretary of State for Health launched a major review of the provision of services for children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, led by the honourable member for Buckingham, Mr John Bercow. As part of his review, Mr Bercow will examine how the children's workforce can best be organised and supported to meet the needs of children with speech, language and communication needs. He will submit an interim report in March, prior to his final report in July 2008.