Emotional and Behavioural Disorders

Education and Skills written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane PPS (Rt Hon Peter Hain, Secretary of State), Wales Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills

(1) what guidance is offered to (a) local education authorities and (b) head teachers on dealing with children with emotional and behavioural disorders;

(2) what measures are in place to ensure children with emotional and behavioural disorders are taught in an environment suitable for their condition.

Photo of Parmjit Dhanda Parmjit Dhanda Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Skills

DfES guidance relating to children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) is directed to both local authorities and head teachers. This includes the SEN Code of Practice (2001), and Promoting Children's Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings (2001). With the Department's BESD Working Group, which includes head teachers, leaders of pupil referral units, educational psychologists, representatives from CAMHS and key voluntary and professional organisations, we are currently considering further, targeted guidance for schools.

In addition to guidance, specialist training materials and opportunities for accreditation have been made available for some 500 staff across the country who have particular responsibilities for BESD.

Our guidance on exclusion from school also makes it clear that schools must do their best to ensure that the necessary provision is made for pupils with special educational needs and that, other than in the most exceptional circumstances, schools should avoid permanently excluding pupils with statements. We will be revising our guidance on school behaviour policies to strengthen advice on making reasonable adjustments for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

On suitable environments for children with BESD, the SEN Code of Practice requires all local authorities to provide appropriate settings, either through mainstream schools, BESD special schools, or PRUs, with a flexible continuum of provision to meet the particular needs of children with BESD. Where a child has complex needs the statutory framework makes clear the need for children to be assessed individually and for authorities to take into consideration the views of parents.

Further details on the Government's programme for BESD will shortly be announced in our response to the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee SEN Third Report of Session 2005-06.

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