Clause 9 - Duty to Specify Named School

Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 29th March 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment)

I shall speak equally briefly to this clause. The duty to specify a named school is waived if the child's parents have made suitable arrangements for special educational provision. Who is to judge whether those arrangements are suitable? I am sure that the intention is right, but I would like to know how the clause will work in practice.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Employment

The arrangements made by parents would not be suitable if, for example, they did not include funding for a reasonable period; case law is clear about that. LEAs will be able to rely on the provisions in clause 9 only if parents have made suitable arrangements. Clause 9 will not apply if the arrangements do not include reasonable funding.

Clause 9 seeks to ensure fairness and clarity in the exercise of the duty placed on LEAs to specify a school by name in part 4 of the statement of special educational needs. That expressly allows authorities not to name a particular school if a child's parents have made other suitable arrangements for their education, typically by paying for a place at a independent school. In those circumstances, the LEA avoids having to name a school in the child's statement, and avoids having to keep open a place at a school that could be taken by another child. The clause safeguards the position of the child, while ensuring that LEAs make efficient use of their resources.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 10 ordered to stand part of the Bill.