Don't deny disabled children their place

Frank Green, vice-chairman of the City Technology Colleges Association, describes technology colleges as being in danger of becoming "special" rather than "specialist" schools, if they are forced to adhere to the new disability discrimination Act (TES, September 6). This smacks of scare-mongering as well as being factually inaccurate.

Only 360,000, or 3 per cent, children have disabilities, so it would be impossible for the colleges to be "overwhelmed" by disabled children.

The terrible difficulties faced by families with a disabled child as they attempt to access everyday services were highlighted in Still Missing Out, my Barnardo's report published last week.

A particularly difficult time for most disabled young people is the transition to adulthood, especially when trying to access appropriate higher education.

Many barriers already prevent disabled young people from leading active and full lives. If this legal challenge to the new Act is upheld, their lives will be made even more difficult and they will be excluded further.

Everyone benefits from inclusive education, not just disabled children.

Living and learning together enables children and young people to understand and appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses. Bringing in disabled children is a learning experience, so surely schools and colleges should take the lead?

Neera Sharma

Principal policy officer

Barnardo's Tanners Lane

Barkingside

Ilford, Essex

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