HC Deb 11 March 2004 vol 418 cc1744-5W
Mr. Hoban

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the change in the rate of incidence of emotional and behavioural difficulties as a special educational need among primary school children over the last 10 years. [157176]

Margaret Hodge

In the past no figures have been collected for special educational need by type of difficulty. However, from January this year we have started to collect information about type of need for pupils with statements of SEN and for those at School Action Plus as part of the Pupil Level Annual Schools Census (PLASC). One of the categories used is 'Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulty' (BESD).

From this summer, information will be available on the number of children in primary schools with BESD. These figures will act as the baseline against which we will be able to compare future trends.

Mr. Hoban

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what procedures are in place to assess progress made in improving the attainment of children with a statement of special educational needs. [157823]

Margaret Hodge

Each child with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) is expected to have short-term educational and development targets set for them during the course of the year. In addition to routine monitoring of the child's progress by their teacher, these targets form part of their individual education plan which should be reviewed by the school at least twice a year and fully considered by the Local Education Authority at the annual review of the child's statement before new targets are set.

"Removing Barriers to Achievement: the Government's Strategy for SEN", launched on 11 February, will strengthen the focus on pupil progress and achievement. Key measures include: trialling and guidance on how schools can make effective use of routine tests, tasks and other forms of assessment to inform target-setting and reporting on pupil progress; helping schools to make effective use of information contained within the Pupil Achievement Tracker and Ofsted Performance and Assessment Reports so that they can compare their performance for different groups of pupils, including those with SEN, with other schools; extending the Pupil Level Annual School Census to include pupil details by type of SEN, allowing comparison with others and better identification of pupils who may need targeted support; promoting the use of P-Scales by all schools with pupils working at the very lowest level of the National Curriculum, by providing guidance on moderation to support consistent assessment and collecting P Scale results as part of the national data collection exercise from 2005; looking further at how the achievements of all children, including those working below the level of the national tests can best be reflected in national performance tables. The SEN Strategy includes a number of measures which underpin this work including: equipping teachers and other professionals with the skills and confidence they need to enable children with SEN to reach their potential; encouraging children and young people to be actively involved in decisions about their learning; and promoting and supporting the commitment of inclusive schools.

Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the future role of moderate learning difficulty special schools will be; and if he will make a statement. [159383]

Margaret Hodge

The Government's special educational needs strategy Removing Barriers to Achievement makes it clear that we believe that special schools have an important role to play within the overall spectrum of provision for children with special educational needs—educating some children directly and sharing their expertise with mainstream schools to support greater inclusion.

There will always be changes to local provision to reflect local needs and circumstances. This is a matter for local decision. Local education authorities are required to review their provision and future needs for children with special educational needs when drafting their School Organisation Plan.

Mr. Jenkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of pupils at special schools was successfully reintegrated within the mainstream school system in 2003. [160071]

Margaret Hodge

In January 2003, local authorities reported that 1020 pupils had transferred from special schools to mainstream schools. That is 1.1 per cent. of the special school population. In addition, about 2000 pupils are dual registered and spend part of their time in a mainstream school. Others are on the roll of a special school but have regular mainstream experience.

The Government's SEN Strategy, "Removing Barriers to Achievement", encourages greater collaboration between special and mainstream schools in order to promote inclusion. This will include greater movement between special schools and mainstream schools by both pupils and staff. We will also encourage more special schools to participate in federation, cluster and twinning arrangements and, through the Building Schools for the Future programme, hope to bring more schools closer physically, including through co-location.