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Two projects were concerned with provision for children under five and their parents: a survey of services for parents of handicapped children under five carried out under the co-direction of Professor M Chazan and Dr AF Laing of the University College of Swansea; and a study of pre-school education and handicapped and exceptional children in the Grampian Region of Scotland directed by Dr MM Clark of the University of Strathclyde.
A project on the employment experiences of handicapped school leavers was commissioned from the National Children's Bureau and carried out by Mr A Walker.
Another group went to Denmark and Sweden to study the implementation of the policy of educating severely handicapped children in ordinary schools and the provision made for handicapped young people over 16.
A third party visited Holland and West Germany to see a range of special schools in those countries.
We are extremely grateful to all those who received us in the course of our visits and, by answering our questions, helped us to formulate our views on the future development of special education. Small parties of our members also visited a number of other countries.
One party visited the United States of America and our Vice-Chairman visited Canada to study arrangements for special educational provision.
On a very small number of issues, indicated in the text, there was difference of opinion among us. On all our main conclusions and recommendations we were in complete agreement.
The places visited are too numerous to list but they included nursery schools and special nursery units, ordinary schools, maintained and non-maintained special schools, independent schools catering wholly or mainly for handicapped pupils, hospitals, assessment centres, colleges of further education, colleges of education and departments of education in polytechnics.Finally, it is a pleasure to record here the debt of gratitude we owe to the imaginative and thorough work of the Committee's two Secretaries, first Mr John Hedger and then Miss Imogen Luxton, who succeeded him half-way through our review. To all these, as well as to our co-opted members, and others not mentioned by name we are deeply indebted. In November 1973 the Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher MP, then Secretary of State for Education and Science, announced that she proposed, in conjunction with the then Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and after consultation with the then Secretaries of State for Social Services and Employment, to appoint a Committee with the following terms of reference: 'To review educational provision in England, Scotland and Wales for children and young people handicapped by disabilities of body or mind, taking account of the medical aspects of their needs, together with arrangements to prepare them for entry into employment; to consider the most effective use of resources for these purposes; and to make recommendations'.The Committee was established the following year and we held our first meeting in September 1974. In view of both our size and the breadth of our terms of reference we decided early in 1975 to divide our work among four sub-committees.We have been very much aware of the continuing financial constraints on central and local government, and have sought to be realistic in making recommendations which would entail additional expenditure.Some of the improvements which we have proposed could be achieved through a redeployment of existing resources; but in formulating proposals for the development of special education to the end of the century and possibly beyond, we have inevitably made some recommendations which would require substantial additional resources. We should like to emphasise that, though our Committee was large, and consisted of members from a variety of different professions, we are unanimous in submitting our report.