HC Deb 16 February 1982 vol 18 cc136-7
18. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the total number of pupils in various categories of handicap in England and Wales at the latest available date; and how many are receiving their education in special classes.

Dr. Boyson

As the answer contains a number of figures, I shall publish the information for England in the Official Report. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is responsibile for information relating to pupils in Wales.

Mr. Wainwright

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, compared with other developed countries, Britain is almost at the bottom of the education league? Does he not realise that the children who need special education and tuition are those who will suffer most? When will he restore the education of those unfortunate children who require special education to a reasonable standard?

Dr. Boyson

The hon. Gentleman has long been concerned about those children who require special education. Indeed, 18 months ago he spoke on the Second Reading of the Education Bill. The money for special education has remained static, while numbers have fallen. That means that more should be spent per pupil than, before and the hon. Gentleman will no doubt be glad to hear that.

Mr. Alton

Is the number of peripatetic teachers who deal with handicapped children in their homes being maintained or are local education authorities cutting back on their numbers?

Dr. Boyson

I cannot answer that straight away. If the hon. Gentleman wants an answer I shall send him a letter with that information, which I should also like to know.

Mr. Marlow

Will my hon. Friend ensure that all would-be teachers are trained in basic mathematics so that they will realise that if they do not accept the 3.4 per cent. pay offer there will be fewer teachers?

Dr. Boyson

My hon. Friend has asked a two-pronged question. No one aged 18 is enrolled in a college of education unless he has O-level English and maths. In 1977, 37 per cent. were enrolled without O-level maths. That shows that there has been an improvement and that teachers may understand the figure that my hon. Friend has mentioned.

Mr. Foster

Has the Minister seen the report published only this week about the appalling difficulties that physically handicapped 16 to 19-year-olds face, both at work and in education? Does he agree that the services provided for 16 to 19-year-olds in further education are completely inadequate? If so, what will he do about it?

Dr. Boyson

I have not read that report and the hon. Gentleman has an advantage over me. However, I shall consider it. I do not agree that provision is totally inadequate. We should all like to see improvements and the economic take-up that will make them possible.

Following is the information:

Numbers of Pupils in Various Categories of Handicap in England,
and those in Special Classes January1981
Total number of handicapped pupils Handicapped pupils in special classes
Blind 975 7
Partially sighted 2, 098 205
Deaf 3, 471 491
Partially hearing 5, 029 3, 365
Physically handicapped 13, 990 639
Delicate 4, 986 348
Maladjusted 21, 256 1, 822
Educationally subnormal 101, 111 8, 400
Epileptic 1, 007 94
Speech Defects 2, 535 1, 085
Total 156, 458 16, 456

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