Nursery Schools and Special Schools

Part of Orders of the Day — EDUCATION (No. 2) BILL – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 12th February 1980.

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Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Opposition Whip (Commons) 9:45 pm, 12th February 1980

It was in response to an amendment that I moved in Committee that the Minister said that we should look at this matter again on Report and that in the meantime we should see what the strength of feeling and attitudes were. He has now seen how strong the feeling is in all parts of the House. I am sure that he has received, as we have done, representations from the organisations dealing with the handicapped, which feel very bitter that they should have been treated in this way by a clause in the Bill.

The decision where a handicapped or disabled child should go is one that has to be taken with a great deal of care, but that is no reason why the rights of parents of handicapped children should be undermined, either in relation to special schools or to those children who are simply in need of some special educational treatment. There are now strong feelings about this, and I do not believe that it would be right for the Bill to be left as it is while we wait for wider recommendations affecting the disabled.

I hope that the Minister recognises the strong feelings that exist and that he will give way now instead of being forced to do so.