HL Deb 25 February 1988 vol 493 cc1415-6WA
Lord Chelwood

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will summarise the advice they have received from the Task Group on Assessment and Testing, and from the subject working groups, about the teaching of children under the age of 19 who have special educational needs but do not have "statements".

Baroness Hooper

The working groups on science and mathematics have been asked to submit their final reports to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science by 30th June 1988, with their proposals for attainment targets, programmes of study and assessment arrangements for the age range from five to 16 years. The groups will be considering whether these national curriculum requirements in their subject will need to be modified for children with special educational needs.

The report of the Task Group on Assessment and Testing was published on 12th January. It recommends that children with special educational needs should participate in its proposed national assessment system wherever they are capable of doing so; that assessment instruments should be made sufficiently flexible to accommodate them; that headteachers might have discretion to exempt them from national tests as such on medical or emotional grounds, provided suitable safeguards and alternative assessments were made; and that children entered for tests but unable to cope might be helped or have the test curtailed, the extent of this being reported as part of the assessment. My right honourable friend has welcomed the broad framework proposed in the report and will be considering these and other detailed recommendations.