Schools: Special and Mainstream Provision

House of Lords written question – answered on 30th March 2006.

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Photo of Lord Ashley of Stoke Lord Ashley of Stoke Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment of the relative benefits of special and mainstream schools is made before pupils are allocated to one or the other.

Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Schools), Department for Education and Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Schools)

Children with special educational needs who do not have a statement must be educated in mainstream schools unless they are being placed in a special school for the purposes of carrying out a statutory assessment of their special educational needs. Parents of children with statements of special educational needs have the right to express a preference for any maintained school they wish their child to attend and the local education authority must, after consulting the school concerned, name the parents' preferred school in the statement unless it is unsuitable to the child's age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs, or the placement would be incompatible with the efficient education of the other children with whom they will be educated or with the efficient use of resources. Unless a parent indicates that they do not want their child to be educated in a mainstream school, for example by asking for a special school, the local authority must ensure that the child is educated in a mainstream school unless that is incompatible with the efficient education of other children and there are no reasonable steps that could be taken to prevent that.

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