The Conservative Party has formed a new commission to review the
provision for special needs in the British education system,
writes Lindsay Clark.
Shadow Education Secretary David Cameron said the Special Needs
Commission would “do what the Government’s audit should do, but
does not” and look into the whole spectrum of special needs
“This is not some new quango with woolly intentions and unclear
purposes. The committee has one purpose, and one purpose only – to
find out what provision we really need to make in the world of
special educational needs.”
The commission will be chaired by Sir Robert Balchin, deputy
chairman of Goldsmith College.
The Conservatives had repeatedly requested the government to
investigate SEN provision, Cameron said, but these requests were
“There has been a huge growth in the number of children
diagnosed with Special Needs. For example, our better understanding
of autism has shown that, rather than five in every 10,000 children
having autism, as was thought in 1980, the true number is 60 in
every 10,000. But provision has not kept up with diagnoses.”
Parents found the statementing process too bureaucratic and too
adversarial, he added.
The Commission will present its interim findings in the late
autumn, the Conservatives said.