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Early start to screening;Special needs

CHILDREN in nurseries and playgroups are to be screened for special educational needs, under new proposals.

Education minister Estelle Morris told a London conference this week that she plans to extend the special needs code of practice to pre-school children. The code is a five-stage process enabling schools to take appropriate action if children need help.

"We have got to put the investment in early years. That is where it matters more than most," Ms Morris told delegates at the conference, organised by the National Children's Bureau.

"The more we move towards an inclusive education system, the greater the need to school all teachers in special educational needs," she said.

"Over the next few months we will want to consult separately with the people with a particular interest and expertise in the best guidance we can give for early-years provision."

Ms Morris announced an increased training budget for the pre-school sector at the conference, taking money available in the Standards Fund from pound;9 million last year to pound;12m.

Chris Bunting

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