More teachers for most severely disabled children

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Ed Balls has pledged more support for trainee teachers who want to work with severely disabled children in response to a major review of the supply and recruitment of teachers of children with severe profound and multiple learning difficulties.

The review by Toby Salt, commissioned by the Government in September 2009, called for more to be done to attract and retain teachers who want to teach disabled children in Special Schools and Mainstream schools.

Speaking at the Association for School and College Leaders conference, Ed Balls said: "Toby's report is clear that we must act now to grow the next generation of teachers in our schools, particularly special schools. It is vital that we provide teachers with the best possible training to help children with severe learning difficulties access a top quality education.

"All children have potential and we want to support them to take part in school life, to achieve and to be happy throughout their education."

The government support includes:

  • Open discussions with Teach First to bring top graduates into schools, particularly special schools, allowing them to gain the skills they need to teach severely disabled children;
  • A new six-month specialist course for new teachers to enable them to be better prepared for their first job working with children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties;
  • New arrangements to collect data on skilled teachers to manage supply effectively for the future;
  • New training on teaching children with severe learning difficulties will be developed by the TDA to ensure that every teacher has access to the quality professional development materials that they need to develop their skills.