Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association celebrate "hugely significant" school census announcement

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A Portsmouth charity is celebrating after their campaign to add Down syndrome to the school census has come to fruition.
The Ross family campaigned at Westminster for the Down Syndrome Act 2022 with members of parliament Gillian Keegan and Sir Liam Fox.Pictured left to right: Ken Ross, Gillian Keegan, Liam Fox, Fionn Crombie Angus, Max Ross, Rachael RossThe Ross family campaigned at Westminster for the Down Syndrome Act 2022 with members of parliament Gillian Keegan and Sir Liam Fox.Pictured left to right: Ken Ross, Gillian Keegan, Liam Fox, Fionn Crombie Angus, Max Ross, Rachael Ross
The Ross family campaigned at Westminster for the Down Syndrome Act 2022 with members of parliament Gillian Keegan and Sir Liam Fox.Pictured left to right: Ken Ross, Gillian Keegan, Liam Fox, Fionn Crombie Angus, Max Ross, Rachael Ross | Rachael Ross

Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association have heralded the news that Down syndrome will be included in the school census from January 2024. The move will enable pupils with Down syndrome to have more effective support, as prior to this announcement the number and location of pupils were unknown.

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Rachael Ross, Chair of Portsmouth DSA, said: “This is a hugely significant development. The school census data will provide a firm foundation on which to build more effective support for students with Down syndrome in schools. For the first time, the number of pupils with Down syndrome, their location and educational setting will be known. This will ensure more effective planning and evaluation for targeted provision, more effective dissemination of DS specific guidelines and provision, and very importantly, more accountability. It also sends a really positive message to the Down syndrome community.”

Ken Ross Vice-chair said, “We feel very privileged to have been part of this ground-breaking process as part of the national Down Syndrome Policy Group. The education minister Gillian Keegan, and the Down Syndrome Act sponsor Sir Liam Fox have been unwavering in their commitment to ensure that the correct building blocks have been put in place which will enable people with Down syndrome to be more meaning fully included in all aspects of life.”

The news is part of a wider announcement by the Department for Education regarding additional funding support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Portsmouth City Council are included in the scheme which features short break programme's for children with SEND and also aims to bolster the transition period from education to employment.

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