Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Thursday, 22 July 2010 19:03 UK

Special educational needs provision 'is unsatisfactory'

Schools in England fail to provide for children with special educational needs (Sen) in a "satisfactory" way, Tory MP Neil Carmichael has said.

During resumed debate on the Academies Bill at committee stage on 22 July 2010, he told MPs that "there are pockets where it is not good enough".

"And as long as that is the case, we cannot be satisfied and therefore we must endeavour to improve the overall provision of Sen," he added.

Tory Graham Stuart, chairman of the Education Select Committee, said Sen provision was currently "not appropriate".

He said: "We have the minister promising a Green Paper in the autumn to look at the whole subject of Sen, at which I hope this House will have rather more time to reflect and consider and possibly improve that policy."

He warned: "Rushing policy-making doesn't always help."

Shadow education minister Vernon Coaker argued that there was a "tension within" the Academies Bill.

He explained: "Independence is to be given to schools. Some may agree with that; we have difficulties with the haste with which it is being done.

"But what mechanism is there to ensure that local authorities provide for these young people in a way that gives them the support they need?"

Mr Coaker proposed an amendment to the bill obliging the government to assess the effect on Sen provisions of their plan to expand the academies scheme.

But Further Education Minister John Hayes assured MPs that academies would be under the same obligations in respect of special educational needs as other schools.

He said the government was committed to ensuring that children with special needs received the services they required and needed.

At the end of the debate, Mr Coaker withdrew the amendment.

Part one of the debate can be found here.

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