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Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [H.L.]
 
 

 
 
A

B I L L

TO

Amend Part IV of the Education Act 1996; to make further provision against discrimination, on grounds of disability, in schools and other educational establishments; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

  PART I
  SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
 
Mainstream education
Education in mainstream schools of children with special educational needs.     1. In the Education Act 1996 ("the 1996 Act"), for section 316 substitute-
 
 
"Duty to educate children with special educational needs in mainstream schools.     316. - (1) This section applies to a child with special educational needs who should be educated in a school.
 
    (2) If no statement is maintained under section 324 for the child, he must be educated in a mainstream school.
 
      (3) If a statement is maintained under section 324 for the child, he must be educated in a mainstream school unless that is incompatible with-
 
 
    (a) the wishes of his parent, or
 
    (b) the provision of efficient education for other children.
      (4) In this section and section 316A "mainstream school" means any school other than-
 
 
    (a) a special school, or
 
    (b) an independent school which is not-
 
      (i) a city technology college,
 
      (ii) a city college for the technology of the arts, or
 
      (iii) a city academy.
Education otherwise than in mainstream schools.     316A. - (1) Section 316 does not prevent a child from being educated in-
 
 
    (a) an independent school which is not a mainstream school, or
 
    (b) a school approved under section 342,
       if the cost is met otherwise than by a local education authority.
 
      (2) Section 316(2) does not require a child to be educated in a mainstream school during any period in which-
 
 
    (a) he is admitted to a special school for the purposes of an assessment under section 323 of his educational needs and his admission to that school is with the agreement of-
 
      (i) the local education authority,
 
      (ii) the head teacher of the school or, if the school is in Wales, its governing body,
 
      (iii) his parent, and
 
      (iv) any person whose advice is to be sought in accordance with regulations made under paragraph 2 of Schedule 26,
 
    (b) he remains admitted to a special school, in prescribed circumstances, following an assessment under section 323 at that school;
 
    (c) he is admitted to a special school, following a change in his circumstances, with the agreement of-
 
      (i) the local education authority,
 
      (ii) the head teacher of the school or, if the school is in Wales, its governing body, and
 
      (iii) his parent;
 
    (d) he is admitted to a community or foundation special school which is established in a hospital.
      (3) Section 316 does not affect the operation of-
 
 
    (a) section 348, or
 
    (b) paragraph 3 of Schedule 27.
      (4) If a local education authority decide-
 
 
    (a) to make a statement for a child under section 324, but
 
    (b) not to name in the statement the school for which a parent has expressed a preference under paragraph 3 of Schedule 27,
       they shall, in making the statement, comply with section 316(3).
 
      (5) A local education authority may, in relation to their mainstream schools taken as a whole, rely on the exception in section 316(3)(b) only if they show that there are no reasonable steps that they could take to prevent the incompatibility.
 
      (6) An authority in relation to a particular mainstream school may rely on the exception in section 316(3)(b) only if it shows that there are no reasonable steps that it or another authority in relation to the school could take to prevent the incompatibility.
 
      (7) The exception in section 316(3)(b) does not permit a governing body to fail to comply with the duty imposed by section 324(5)(b).
 
      (8) An authority must have regard to guidance about section 316 and this section issued-
 
 
    (a) for England, by the Secretary of State,
 
    (b) for Wales, by the National Assembly for Wales.
      (9) "Authority"-
 
 
    (a) in relation to a maintained school, means each of the following-
 
      (i) the local education authority,
 
      (ii) the school's governing body, and
 
    (b) in relation to a maintained nursery school or a pupil referral unit, means the local education authority."
 
General duties of local education authorities
Advice and information for parents.     2. - (1) In the 1996 Act, insert the following section-
 
 

"General duties of local education authorities
Advice and information for parents.     332A. - (1) A local education authority must arrange for the parent of any child in their area with special educational needs to be provided with advice and information about matters relating to those needs.
 
      (2) In making the arrangements, the authority must have regard to any guidance given-
 
 
    (a) for England, by the Secretary of State,
 
    (b) for Wales, by the National Assembly for Wales.
      (3) The authority must take such steps as they consider appropriate for making the services provided under subsection (1) known to-
 
 
    (a) the parents of children in their area,
 
    (b) the head teachers and proprietors of schools in their area, and
 
    (c) such other persons as they consider appropriate."
      (2) In Schedule 27 to the 1996 Act (making and maintenance of statements of special educational needs), omit paragraph 6(b).
 
Resolution of disputes.     3. In the 1996 Act, insert the following section-
 
 
"Resolution of disputes.     332B. - (1) A local education authority must make arrangements with a view to avoiding or resolving disagreements between authorities (on the one hand) and parents of children in their area (on the other) about the exercise by authorities of functions under this Part.
 
    (2) A local education authority must also make arrangements with a view to avoiding or resolving, in each relevant school, disagreements between the parents of a relevant child and the proprietor of the school about the special educational provision made for that child.
 
      (3) The arrangements must provide for the appointment of independent persons with the function of facilitating the avoidance or resolution of such disagreements.
 
      (4) In making the arrangements, the authority must have regard to any guidance given-
 
 
    (a) for England, by the Secretary of State,
 
    (b) for Wales, by the National Assembly for Wales.
      (5) The authority must take such steps as they consider appropriate for making the arrangements made under subsections (1) and (2) known to-
 
 
    (a) the parents of children in their area,
 
    (b) the head teachers and proprietors of schools in their area, and
 
    (c) such other persons as they consider appropriate.
      (6) The arrangements cannot affect the entitlement of a parent to appeal to the Tribunal.
 
      (7) In this section-
 
 
    "authorities" means the governing bodies of maintained schools and the local education authority,
 
    "relevant child" means a child who has special educational needs and is a registered pupil at a relevant school.
      (8) For the purposes of this section a school is a relevant school in relation to a child if it is-
 
 
    (a) a maintained school or a maintained nursery school,
 
    (b) a pupil referral unit,
 
    (c) a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or a city academy,
 
    (d) an independent school named in the statement maintained for the child under section 324, or
 
    (e) a school approved under section 342."
Compliance with orders.     4. In the 1996 Act insert the following section-
 
 
"Compliance with orders.     336B. If the Tribunal makes an order, the local education authority concerned must comply with the order before the end of the prescribed period beginning with the date on which it is made."
 
 
Appeals
Unopposed appeals.     5. In the 1996 Act, insert the following section-
 
 
"Unopposed appeals.     326A. - (1) This section applies if-
 
    (a) the parent of a child has appealed to the Tribunal under section 325, 328, 329 or 329A or paragraph 8(3) of Schedule 27 against a decision of a local education authority, and
 
    (b) the authority notifies the Tribunal that they have determined that they will not, or will no longer, oppose the appeal.
      (2) The appeal is to be treated as having been withdrawn.
 
      (3) Before the end of the prescribed period, the authority must-
 
 
    (a) in the case of an appeal under section 325, make a statement under section 324 of the child's educational needs,
 
    (b) in the case of an appeal under section 328, 329 or 329A, make an assessment of the child's educational needs,
 
    (c) in the case of an appeal under paragraph 8(3) of Schedule 27 against a determination of the authority not to comply with the parent's request, comply with the request.
      (4) An authority required by subsection (3)(a) to make a statement under section 324 must maintain the statement under that section.
 
      (5) Regulations under this section, so far as they relate to Wales, require the agreement of the National Assembly for Wales."
 
 
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