On this page you will find information about the Special Educational Needs (Information) Act which was Sharon Hodgson’s Private Members Bill in the 2007-2008 Parliament.
The Bill’s successful passage into law made Sharon only the fourth female MP that decade to pass such a bill. The Bill became an act when it received Royal Assent in late 2008, and it came into effect on 1 January 2009.
The Act makes it necessary for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (now the Department for education) to publish an annual report about children with special educational needs. Such a report is useful for people interested in special education needs, including teachers, parents and local educational authorities.
The first report was published in October 2009, and can be found here DCSF: Children with Special Educational Needs 2009: an analysis on the DCSF website. If you have any feedback on the report Sharon would be interested to hear from you: sharon can be contacted using the information on the contact page.
Update: 21.07.08 - Royal Assent - From Hansard:
21 July 2008 : Column 1579
Royal Assent - 7.30 pm
The Lord Speaker (Baroness Hayman): My Lords, I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:
Appropriation (No. 2) Act, Finance Act,Sale of Student Loans Act,Special Educational Needs (Information) Act, Statute Law (Repeals) Act, Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act, Health and Social Care Act, Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act, National Insurance Contributions Act, London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act.
Update: 07.07.08 - Following scrutiny in committee, Sharon Hodgson's Special Educational Needs (Information) Bill, sponsored by Baroness Pitkeathley received its third reading in the House of Lords and was passed for Royal Assent. Therefore the bill will become law.
Support for children with special educational needs
Specialised support is available through schools, pre-schools and local authorities for children with special educational needs - or children who need extra support to help them learn. See this Direct Gov link:
DirectGov Special educational needs - school (general parents section)
A full briefing pack is available by clicking on the link here.
If you want more information or want to get involved in helping to further support for the Bill then please contact Jonathan Tanner in Sharon's House of Commons Office on 020 7219 0266.
A Private Member’s Bill represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a backbench MP to make a difference. It is common for loyal backbenchers to choose a Bill from the Government’s shelf which is guaranteed to become law or for the more rebellious to court controversy in the forlorn hope of major change, but Gateshead East and Washington West MP Sharon Hodgson chose neither.
As a mother of two with a severely dyslexic son, Mrs Hodgson was sympathetic to the pressures and frustration faced by thousands of parents whose children have Special Educational Needs (SEN). She also has first hand experience of moving between local authorities and the difference in levels of provision. It was conversations with MPs from all parties and with major SEN charities that convinced her something needed to be done to strengthen the case for change.
Mrs Hodgson tabled a series of parliamentary questions asking for information on the specialist support given to children with dyslexia. The same answer occurred several times – ‘this information is not collected centrally’. The aim of the Bill is to ensure that future information is collected and published so that campaigners have access to the facts.
This will enable government and campaigners to assess which local authorities are best meeting the identified needs of children and end the current ‘patchwork quilt’ of provision.
There were no plans to change existing legislation until the issue was raised by Mrs Hodgson with DCSF so this is a step that would not have been taken without the formulation of the Bill. The Bill strengthens the powers of the Secretary of State to collect information which will assist in improving outcomes for children with SEN.
It would place a requirement on the Secretary of State to publish this information annually and with reference to how well SEN children are achieving measured by the Every Child Matters outcomes such as emotional well being, educational attainment and their contribution to society.
It is anticipated that the 2009 OFSTED SEN review will be used to inform Ministers what additional information needs to be collected to fulfill this new statutory duty and how that information can be collected most efficiently. In the interim period there will be a greater degree of secondary analysis of existing information.
It is hoped that if the Bill proceeds to committee there will be a robust debate on the wider issues that the Bill raises such as the need to train teachers to recognise SEN and to ensure that qualified support is available to all children identified as having SEN.
Progress of the bill
Full second reading speech in Hansard
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