Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 4:18 pm, 11th January 2010

I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. As she knows, the schools census collects data on children with statements and on school action plus and they show that as of January 2009 there were 51,200 pupils on the autistic spectrum. In addition, the Special Educational Needs (Information) Act 2008, which came into effect in January, is giving us more information about the characteristics of those pupils, their attainment and the progress that they make. We first published those statistics in October, they include children on the autistic spectrum and we will continue to ensure that we prioritise those children, as we showed in the Lamb review. I should say to my hon. Friend that the leadership that she has shown on these matters has been hugely important in raising opportunity and standards for children in our country who have a special educational need.

The fact is that 100,000 more children are now leaving primary school secure in English and 100,000 more are secure in maths compared with 1997. However, a world-class education system demands that no child's progress is allowed to stall or be held back. We know that many children, at certain points of their school life, benefit from short bursts of tailored, individual support alongside effective class teaching. Personal tuition must not just be the preserve of those who can afford it, so our pupil guarantee will entitle to catch-up support any child who falls behind in reading or writing or maths during primary school-in key stage 1 or in key stage 2-and any young person who starts secondary school behind expectations, with all looked-after children also automatically receiving one-to-one tuition so that they develop the basic skills they need. These guarantees of one-to-one catch-up support can be delivered only by the rising real-terms budgets for the schools system set out in the pre-Budget report.

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