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Monday, November 23, 1998 Published at 11:57 GMT


Action plan for special needs

The Scottish Office has launched an £8m action plan to support families and schools working with children with special educational needs.

A child is defined as having special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty which needs special teaching.

It is estimated that up to 20% of school children may need special educational help at some stage in their school careers.

The new measures, announced by the Scottish Education Minister, Helen Liddell, include:

  • An independent national special educational needs advice service for children and families.

  • An extra £2.5m for special educational needs staff development and training.

  • A doubling to £6.5m of the funding for speech and language therapy services.

  • A £2m grant scheme to support special educational needs in the voluntary and non-statutory sectors.

Speaking at a conference organised by Children in Scotland, Capability Scotland and Disability Scotland, Mrs Liddell said: "This new money will ensure families of pupils with special educational needs have information and advice to help them make informed decisions about the education of their children.

"It will help children and young people themselves to express their views and aspirations by providing them with accessible information.

"It will also significantly improve the opportunities for school staff and professionals to develop their expertise and to deliver a high quality educational experience to children and young people with special educational needs."

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