§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many consultative circulars have been issued by his Department under the terms of the Education Act 1993, on the matter of pupils with educational problems; how many were in the Welsh language; whether he expects652W Welsh-medium schools or Welsh-speaking teachers, school governors or education administrators to respond to these circulars in English; and if he will make a statement on the policy of his Department in these matters.
§ Sir Wyn Roberts
The Department has issued for consultation with local education authorities, teacher associations and other organisations draft circulars on the development of special schools, on the organisation of special educational provision and on pupils with problems. In addition, the Department has issued a consultation paper on the special education needs tribunal and on the draft code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs. The draft code of practice has been made available in both the English and Welsh languages. As is our general policy, those wishing to write to the Department may do so in either English or Welsh.
The Department's policy has been to issue circulars of guidance on education matters simultaneously in both the English and Welsh languages, whenever possible. However, there have been occasions when it has not been possible to obtain a Welsh translation to allow those being consulted sufficient time to consider the proposals. In order to give them this, it has been necessary to issue a document in English only.
As with all Welsh Office documents which go to schools, the final versions of these circulars will issue in both languages.
The Department's policies and practices as regards services for users of the Welsh language are currently being reviewed in the light of the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Department will publish, in due course, following consultation, a scheme having regard to the statutory guidelines of the Welsh Language Board as approved by Parliament.653W