HC Deb 07 May 1996 vol 277 cc99-101W
Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what assessment she has made of the number of left-handed children of school age; [27864]

(2) if she will make it her policy to provide equal opportunity at schools for left-handed pupils; [27867]

(3) if she will conduct a study of the special educational needs of left-handed pupils. [27868]

Mr. burt

The information is in the table.

Mrs. Gillan

Left-handedness is not recognised as a special educational need within the meaning of the Education Acts. Provisions relating to pupils with special educational needs apply equally to left-handed and right-handed pupils. The Department does not collect information on the number of left-handed pupils, and has no plans to conduct a study on the special educational needs of such pupils. If my hon. Friend wishes to write to me with details of any case causing him concern, I shall gladly look into it.

Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what plans she has to help teachers respond appropriately to the special requirements of left-handed pupils, with particular reference to assisting them in avoiding discomfort in writing; [27866]

(2) for what reasons dealing with left-handedness is not among the criteria she specifies for teacher training; [27869]

(3) what assessment she has made of the relative advantage of teaching strategies for coping with left-handedness in pupils during (a) initial training, (b) induction and (c) service. [27865]

Mr. Robin Squire

Teaching methods and arrangements for the induction and inservice training of teachers are not centrally prescribed. It is for schools and teachers to determine the most effective way to ensure they meet the needs of all their pupils, using the resources available to them. The Secretary of State specifies broad criteria for courses of initial teacher training, including the need for new teachers to be able to respond to relevant individual differences between pupils. Institutions accredited to provide such courses are responsible for meeting these criteria. All schools and courses of initial teacher training are subject to independent inspection followed by published reports.