HC Deb 03 April 2003 vol 402 c820W
Mr. Fabian Hamilton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will reverse the policy on exclusion in secondary schools. [105539]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

[holding answer 31 March 2003]As a result of the SEN and Disability Act 2001, children who have statements of special educational needs (SEN), have a stronger right to mainstream education where this is what their parents want, and where it is compatible with the efficient education of other children. The Act also amended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to provide protection from discrimination for disabled pupils and prospective pupils, and introduced duties on LEAs and schools to plan strategically to increase access to schools for disabled pupils.

There are strong educational, as well as social and moral, grounds for educating children with SEN or disabilities with their peers, and we believe that with the right strategies and support, the vast majority of children with special educational needs or disabilities can be included in a mainstream school. An increasing number of schools are showing that an inclusive approach can reinforce a commitment to higher standards of achievement for all children. This approach applies equally to early years settings, primary, and secondary schools. However, we also see a continuing and vital role for special schools, and are currently consulting on the proposals of the Special Schools Working Group, who have made recommendations on how special schools could work with mainstream schools to further develop their role within the Government's inclusion framework.