HC Deb 28 March 1984 vol 57 cc220-1W
Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what responsibilities local education authorities have for undertaking medical examinations and assessments of children commencing school education within their areas in public and private schools, respectively.

Mr. John Patten

Under the provisions of the National Health Service Act 1977 the responsibility for providing medical and dental inspection and treatment of pupils in attendance at maintained schools rests with health authorities. It is the duty of local education authorities to make available to health authorities suitable accommodation for these purposes. Health authorities have powers — but not a duty — to provide the same facilities to pupils of independent schools.

The implementation, in April 1983, of the 1981 Education Act introduced new procedures for the assessment of children with special educational needs. Local education authorities must initiate the assessment of such children and, as part of that assessment, obtain medical, pshychological and other such advice as they think desirable in order to arrive at a satisfactory assessment. Medical advice must be sought from the medical officer designated for this purpose by the district health authority.

Arrangements for assessments and statements of special educational needs were set out in a circular issued jointly by my Department and the Department of Education and Science—circular 1/83 DES—a copy of which is in the Library of the House.