HL Deb 10 May 1983 vol 442 cc457-8WA
Lord De Freyne

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether state physiologists working in schools could be asked to pay special attention to children in their second year of formal schooling, i.e. 7 years, and screen those children who as yet do not read and write to the required standards for any signs of specific reading and writing difficulties, so that those detected may receive prompt help.

The Earl of Swinton

The Education Act 1981, which became fully operative on 1st April 1983, placed a clear obligation on local education authorities and school governors to identify and provide for the special educational needs of the children for whom they are responsible. A joint circular issued on 31st January 1983 by the Departments of Education and Science and Health and Social Security stated that every school was likely to have some pupils with special educational needs and that local education authorities should provide guidance to their schools on the arrangements for identifying, assessing and meeting such needs. While recognising the key role of the teacher, the circular emphasised the need to involve other professionals, including educational psychologists, as appropriate. I am sending my noble friend a copy of the circular: no further advice appears called for at present.