Chalking up the issues

David Henderson reports on a rough ride for the leadership at the EIS's annual conference in Dundee.

* The EIS became the third union this spring to protest about the serious impact of integrating pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Grant Bruce, Aberdeen, said that there was a clear distinction between mainstreaming some SEN pupils, such as those with autistic difficulties and Down's syndrome and those with acute behavioural problems, many of whom would previously have been in special schools or units. A survey of 500 members in the city had underlined widespread concerns.

As an assistant head, he was responsible for 300 pupils. Three years ago, only three were temporarily excluded. This year, there were 16 and two were permanent.

Ken Bryce-Stafford, Edinburgh, who has worked in a secure unit and in mainstream schools, said: "We are hung up on inclusion in bricks and mortar. We should be looking at what's best for everybody." The education of many was being sacrificed by the attention given to difficult pupils.

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