Change won't come overnight

IT could take 15 to 20 years for inclusion to become a reality, Renfrewshire says.

A survey of the authority's three special schools found parents felt there was no one model which could be applied to all schools and circumstances. They feared it would be impossible to put extra resources into mainstream schools to support children with complex needs, who could be left vulnerable.

The main concerns were bullying, staff expertise, support and resources, and the danger of creating a school within a school.

School board chairs of mainstream schools felt that it was impossible for all schools to meet the needs of all pupils, although they accept that new buildings should be designed with inclusion in mind.

The survey reveals strong support for the continuation of the three special schools and the council's approach to inclusion. There is broad backing for additional support bases in schools, although parents and teachers are concerned about the resources involved.

However, there is little support for providing extra facilities in primaries and secondaries for pupils with "significant additional needs", or for 16-plus units in some secondaries for pupils with additional needs. These initiatives would be too disruptive.

Staff in mainstream schools were concerned about the environment for children with complex and multiple needs and the difficulties of classroom management when there were already considerable numbers of support staff.

Teachers accept that staff development will be critical.

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