BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 11:41 GMT
Anti-bias law for disabled pupils
Queen's speech
The Queen's speech promised rights for disabled pupils
The educational rights of children with disabilities will be strengthened by legislation announced in the Queen's speech.

The speech, delivered to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, outlining the government's legislative programme, also reiterated the government's commitment to raising standards in secondary schools.

Education measures
Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill
Raise standards in secondary schools
More specialist schools
Raise standards in inner-city comprehensives

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill, which will apply to England and Wales and in part in Scotland, will reinforce the right of children with physical or behavioural problems to be taught in mainstream classes.

It will be backed by the promise of 392m to improve access in schools and colleges.

The proposed anti-discriminatory measure would make it illegal to treat disabled pupils "less favourably" than other pupils and requires schools to make "reasonable adjustments" so that disabled pupils are not put at a "substantial disadvantage".

Wheelchair access
There will be extra funds to improve access to schools and colleges

It will also place new requirements on local education authorities to provide parents with advice and information and to set up systems for settling disputes.

Local authorities would also be forced to implement the decisions of special educational needs tribunals within a set period of time.

The announcement was welcomed by disability charity, Scope, which described the proposed legislation as "a building block for equality. This new legislation is a key step forward in our campaign for equality for disabled people".

And the support for parents wanting to send children with special needs to a mainstream school was welcomed by mental health charity, Mencap.

Children with a learning disability want to be able to go to their local school, just like everyone else. Society should not be about segregation, but acceptance and school is the place for children to learn this

Richard Kramer, Mencap

"Children with a learning disability want to be able to go to their local school - just like everyone else. Society should not be about segregation, but acceptance and school is the place for children to learn this," said the head of campaigns, Richard Kramer.

The Queen's speech also asserted the high priority given to raising standards in schools, particularly for secondary pupils.

After the improvements in primary schools, which the government ascribes to its literacy and numeracy programmes, there will now be an emphasis on 11 to 14 year old pupils.

This will see the system of tests and targets and a literacy and numeracy strategy applied to these early secondary years.

The speech also signalled the continuing expansion of the specialist school sector, in which state secondary schools are given extra funds to become specialists in a subject area such as technology, the arts or modern languages.

The government's plans for secondary schools stretch beyond the next election, with proposals for a thousand specialist schools by 2004.

In the inner-cities, there will be further support for "urban school reform", which will see initiatives such as the "gifted and talented" project for the most able pupils and the provision of "learning mentors" to cut down on truancy and to work with families.


KEY STORIES

ANALYSIS

TALKING POINT

VIDEO
See also:

06 Nov 00 | UK Education
28 Sep 00 | UK Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes