§ Mr. McMaster
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to improve the provision of special needs education in the(a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) tertiary sectors of education; and if he will make a statement.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
Provision for special educational needs in primary and secondary education is the responsibility of education authorities under the terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. Every child or young person with special educational needs who attends school must be offered an adequate and efficient education suitable for his or her individual requirements. Funding for this is contained in the annual aggregate external finance settlement.
The Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992 gives the Secretary of State a new duty from 1 April 1993 to secure the adequate and efficient provision of further education in Scotland, and in doing so to have regard to the requirements of those over school age with learning difficulties. Boards of management of further education colleges will be given guidance on ways in which they can continue to widen opportunities for students with learning difficulties.
The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, established under the 1992 Act, is required by the Secretary of State to consider how access to higher education for students with particular needs, including those with special educational needs, can be facilitated.