§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions she has had with Gloucestershire County Council about their policy towards special schools; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment she has made of special needs provision in Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what assessment she has made of statementing in Gloucestershire; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ivan Lewis
[holding answer 10 June 2002]: Ofsted published a report of its inspection of Gloucestershire Local Education Authority in January this year. My officials have been working with the Authority's officers as the Authority has developed its Post-Inspection Action Plan. The inspection report was critical of the delay in the Authority's development of an inclusive approach to meeting special educational needs [and noted that the process of special school re-organisation had been slow]. It recommended that the Authority should produce a strategy for special educational needs (SEN), which has a swifter timetable for implementation, shows how it will raise standards for pupils and incorporates the Authority's different reviews in a coherent plan.
The report also recommended that the Authority should work with health authorities and the counties social services department, to reduce the number of cases where exceptional needs prevent the completion of SEN statements within 18 weeks.
My officials received the Authority's Post Inspection Action plan on 1 May. They will continue to work with the Authority's officers as this Plan is developed and implemented.