HC Deb 03 March 2004 vol 418 cc1001-2W
Jim Dobbin

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to improve the statistics he collects on(a) the number of disabled children, (b) the type of disability affecting each child, (c) the severity and combination of their disabilities, (d) the levels of service provided for disabled children and (e) the adequacy of these services. [154741]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

The Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) took place last month. For the first time the Department collected the Special Educational Needs (SEN) type, for those pupils with statements or who are classified as "school action plus". This will enable us to examine the background factors associated with particular SEN types and the attainment patterns at various Key Stages of particular groups of pupils. Since many pupils with SEN have multiple needs the data collected records their primary and secondary need.

As for levels and adequacy of services, OfSTED will be reporting to the Secretary of State in 2005 on how well schools in general are carrying out the duties which were brought in by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001. These duties focus on inclusion, providing protection from discrimination for disabled pupils and strategic planning to improve access to schools for disabled pupils. There is a clear expectation that these duties will lead to improvements in the services provided to disabled children at school.

We have improved the information we collect about the number of disabled children supported by social services through the Children in Need (CIN) Census, which shows the number of disabled children reported in the survey week who received a service during that week. The last survey was carried out in February 2003, with the local authority results from this due to be published on 26 February. (The previous survey was carried out in September/October 2001.) The results are published and shown by local authority, although not collected by type of disability nor what type of service they received.

Further information on data collection by type of SEN can be found at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/sen/datatypes.