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Minister heads off SEN protest

The government has promised improved training for all school staff who help children with special educational needs in a bid to appease campaigners backing attempts by backbench MPs to bring in tough new regulations.

Mandatory training for all teachers looks set to come into force as the Government seeks to reassure those who claim teachers are failing SEN pupils.

Following the commitment from junior schools minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry, MPs have dropped attempts to bring in legislation that would have strengthened Ofsted inspections and given new duties to local authorities to ensure teachers had "sufficient expertise".

As such, Conservative MP John Bercow has withdrawn his private member's bill, which aimed to make it harder for schools to exclude children with SEN and autism.

Ms McCarthy-Fry has promised to improve coverage of SEN in teacher training, and to ensure that existing special educational needs co-ordinators (Sencos) have the opportunity to attend refresher courses.

The minister has also outlined spending on further specialist training. From September, all new Sencos will have to complete nationally accredited training within three years, paid for by the Government. But Ms McCarthy-Fry said she was looking to extend this rule to all staff working with SEN children.

The Government has pledged to spend Pounds 18 million in the next three years to improve provision for those with SEN and disabilities.

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