A TEENAGER has helped develop some of the biggest educational reforms in a generation.

Alice Harmer provided feedback to the Department for Education on the support needed for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The 15-year-old, from Brighton, has autism and fragile x syndrome, a genetic condition which can cause a wide range of learning difficulties as well as social, language, attention, emotional and behavioural problems.

The reforms, which came into force at the start of the month, are outlined in a new code of practice for schools and other education centres.

The aim is to set out what they need to provide for children with special education needs and give children and their parents a greater say on the health and support they get.

Alice became involved through her membership of the Council for Disabled Children’s equality, participation, influencing and change group.

As well as discussing the reform with the Government, the group has created information films and leaflets. Ten members of the group were guests of honour at a special reception in London hosted by Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson.

Alice, a pupil at Patcham House School, Brighton, said: “I worked with government officials on discussing how we could help improve school education.

“It is good that they listened to us because we are experienced with it and I think it helped them.”

Mr Timpson said: “I’m delighted and humbled by the determination and hard work of everyone involved in shaping these reforms.

“Alice has helped us to deliver reforms that will help millions of children who have special educational needs.

“This is the beginning of a journey, but we’ve got off to a great start and for that we’re all thankful to everyone for their help.”

In England, one in five children has a special need or disability, ranging from dyslexia to physical impairment.