Special needs response under fire

A group of children’s organisations say they are “deeply concerned” about omissions in the government’s response last week to the education select committee report on special educational needs.

The Special Educational Consortium, which includes the National Children’s Bureau and Barnardo’s, said the response did little to address high levels of exclusion of children with SEN and disabilities.

The SEC also said it would like a greater commitment to ensuring that all teachers had SEN and disability training.

In its response, the government announced a national programme of continuing professional development to improve understanding of SEN and disability in schools, and a new requirement that SEN co-ordinators must be teachers.

But education secretary Alan Johnson said the government would not replace the controversial statementing system, as suggested by the committee, claiming this would not improve services.

The Department for Education and Skills will also issue guidance to local authorities on their SEN responsibilities.

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