HC Deb 22 June 1956 vol 554 cc132-3W
Mr. K. Thompson

asked the Minister of Education if he is now able to make a statement on his intentions with regard to the recommendations of the Report of the Committee on Maladjusted Children.

Sir D. Eccles

I should like to thank the Committee for its Report and to express my appreciation of its balanced approach to the task it was set. I particularly welcome its remarks on the normal development of children, the responsibilities of parents and the importance of prevention. I shall consider carefully with my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Minister of Health how the services for which we are responsible can best work together to promote the sound development of children within the family and prevent maladjustment from arising.

I agree in general with the Committee's proposals on child guidance and special educational treatment. The rate at which these proposals can be carried out will depend on the availability of trained staff and on the extent to which we find it possible to finance developments of this kind. I am, however, considering at once with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health the possibility of issuing some guidance on the organisation of the Child Guidance Service and on the training of staff for it.

Advice will be given to local education authorities on the provision of special educational treatment for maladjusted children. I agree with the Committee that more use should be made of day special schools and classes, and that residential treatment should be provided only if there is no prospect of treating the child successfully if he stays at home.

I hope to issue shortly a circular about the training of teachers of the handicapped. I shall also examine further, with my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and Minister of Health, the recommendations about training of house staff, and about after-care; some of these would need legislation.

The Committee has also recommended that, as from a given date, maladjusted pupils should be maintained by authorities in independent schools only if they are recognised by me as efficient. I wish to consider this further, but application for such recognition can already be made.