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

It partly depends on the judgment of the teachers. I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would be willing to join me in wanting to back the professional judgment of teachers and head teachers. At key stage 2, for years 3, 4, 5 and 6, a child who is not making progress is guaranteed one-to-one tuition. At key stage 1, they are guaranteed extra support, which could mean one-to-one tuition, small-group tuition or moving at a different pace through key stage 1 - [ Interruption. ] If the hon. Gentleman will let me make the point rather than shouting at me, I shall try to answer him.

At key stage 1, there will be one-to-one or small group tuition, or what the teacher decides, and in year 7, too, there will be one-to-one or small group tuition depending on what is needed. The test is whether the support means that the child makes progress and the cost is that it has to be paid for in order to be delivered. If we are willing to put the investment in, we can see all children make progress. If we are not willing to make the investment-we heard earlier that the Opposition will cut spending in 2010-11-some children will still make progress, but not all children will. That is the difference.

We will also be legislating in our Bill to introduce a new school report card that will specifically report on provision for pupils with special educational needs alongside attainment, satisfaction and discipline. We will extend the inspection remit of Ofsted to include provision for pupils with special educational needs and we will provide parents of children with special educational needs with a new right to appeal if their child's statement is not amended at annual review. Of those children who do not get to level 4 now-100,000 fewer than in 1997-two thirds have a special educational need, which is twice the level of the whole population. In my view, putting the needs of children with special needs at the centre of our education system is not peripheral but the only way to keep raising standards in our schools.

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