Down Syndrome Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 4th February 2022.

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Photo of Jo Gideon Jo Gideon Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent Central 1:23 pm, 4th February 2022

I absolutely agree. The key thing is that APPGs by their very nature are cross-party. On issues such as those we are discussing today with this Bill—this is a cross-party topic—the more that we can find consensus, the better it is for the people we represent.

Looking at schools, the Bill asks for a curriculum tailored more towards children with Down syndrome and for more teachers to be trained to understand how to teach children with the condition and the specific learning profiles of that condition. It is a fact that Down syndrome pupils in mainstream schools achieve on average at two years above the academic level of those in special schools.

Having said that, there are some fabulous special schools, and I want to give a shout-out to Aurora Hanley School in Bucknall in my constituency. There is some wonderful work going on. I also want to mention Stoke and Staffordshire Down syndrome social group, who have posted a lot about this issue. They meet regularly at the Bridge Centre in Birches Head, and they make a difference to about 50 families. It is a massively important contribution that everybody can make.