Special needs will feature strongly in the autumn measures affecting teachers. Some major changes will alter the way schools work with increasing numbers of SEN pupils. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act strengthens the right of children with SEN to be educated in mainstream schools when parents wish it and the education of other pupils will not be affected as a result. The Act will place new duties on local authorities, such as making "reasonable" adjustments so disabled pupils are not disadvantaged.
Also due to be implemented in the autumn is the Revised Code of Practice, which Labour says is designed to promote inclusion while focusing on practical support for children without the need for legalistic statements. It also promotes earlier identification and assessment, and aims to simplify the process of identifying special needs. There wil be more emphasis on pupil participation and on increasing parental confidence in the process.
Changes are also being made in target setting for SEN children. The DfEE has revised the guidance, Supporting the Target Setting Process: Guidance for effective target setting for pupils with special educational needs. Schools are now required to set measurable performance targets at key stages 2, 3 and 4 using P scales - eight differentiated levels below Level 1 of the national curriculum which have now been developed for all subjects - and other appropriate performance criteria. Targets must be set by the end of December 2001 when they must be published by governing bodies in their annual report to parents.
The revised version of Supporting the Target Setting Process is now available for downloading from the DfEE website: www.dfee.com.