HC Deb 28 April 1993 vol 223 cc415-6W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the local education authorities which have applied since the beginning of the year for lap-top computers for children with special learning difficulties; and what response was made to such applications.

Mr. Forth

I announced in January a major pilot study to assess the educational impact of using portable computers in schools. The following local education authorities (LEAs) have submitted project bids in respect of children with special learning difficulties:

LEAs Manchester
Camden Salford
Greenwich Stockport
Hackney Barnsley
Islington Rotherham
Lambeth Sheffield
Lewisham Leeds
Barking Avon
Barnet Berkshire
Brent Cleveland
Bromley Derbyshire
Croydon East Sussex
Haringey Hertfordshire
Hounslow Humberside
Kingston-upon-Thames Lancashire
Merton Leicestershire
Birmingham Norfolk
Coventry Somerset
Liverpool Suffolk
Sefton Surrev

All project bids are currently being assessed and evaluated; decisions will be announced shortly.

Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children with special learning difficulties have been statemented during the past 12 months; what funding is made available for such children in state, voluntary sector and grant-maintained schools; and what steps he takes to ensure quality control and adequate provision for statemented children.

Mr. Forth

Information on the number of children for whom statements of special educational needs were made for the first time in the last 12 months is not yet available. The latest collated information indicates that statements were made in respect of 30,699 children for the first time during the calendar year 1991.

Any additional funding for the provision specified in a pupil's statement is the responsibility of the local education authority which maintains the statement, irrespective of the type of school the pupil attends.

Quality control and ensuring that adequate provision is made for children with statements are similarly matters for local education authorities. Paragraph 5 of part III of schedule 1 to the Education Act 1981 requires authorities to review statements at least annually.

The Education Bill currently before Parliament makes similar provision—at clause 162—for statements to be reviewed at least annually and provides, for the first time, for the necessary regulations governing the manner in which those reviews are to be conducted. I anticipate that the new code of practice to be made under clause 149 of the Bill will offer guidance on the contents of statements and the manner of their review.