The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): There are a wide range of activities currently under way and in the planning stage that the DCSF is co-ordinating in relation to improving training for the school workforce in relation to special educational needs.
From 1 September 2009, new regulations have come into force which mean that SENCOs in schools are now required to be qualified teachers and, if they have been in post for less than 12 months, they are also required to undertake new mandatory training to assist them in their role.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is also in the process of strengthening the coverage of SEN and disability issues in Initial Teacher Training and Induction for teachers—primary materials were launched in June 2008, secondary materials in June 2009 and PGCE materials will be available from November 2009. Also in November this year, the TDA will be launching a modular postgraduate course to provide opportunities for specialist SEN study for experienced teachers.
The National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services are in the process of developing the Achievement for All programme which will aim to improve SEN and disability coverage in school leadership programmes.
In partnership with the national strategies, we are also in the process of creating and rolling-out the Inclusion Development Programme which will deliver specially designed training resources for the school workforce that address areas of SEN that we know some find difficult—these include communication and autism and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD).