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Integration confirmed as the way forward

Psychologists have backed the trend for difficult and disturbed children to have mainstream schooling except in extreme circumstances. But a paper acknowledges that schools must have the necessary facilities and a "flexible, adaptable and relevant" curriculum.

The paper sets out national principles to help psychologists promote the emotional and social welfare of children. It states: "The principle of appropriate, least intrusive and most effective intervention should be applied in all situations. More intensive and intrusive approaches must be explicitly justified."

Integration between educational and caring agencies should bring together teachers, social workers and psychologists to work with parents of children with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. The association is particularly concerned at the education of children in care. Too many end up in special education or as an exclusion statistic and many receive little or no education, it states.

The paper accepts that segregated placements may be needed but only as a short-term solution.

"Often such a placement is less to do with meeting the needs of the young person and more to ensure the prevention of the infringement of the rights of others," the association comments.

* Glasgow is to review the education it provides for children with visual, hearing and dual sensory impairments. The city council's move is likely to herald an end to "all-age" schools from pre-fives to post-16s, and to segregated provision which denies pupils access to the full curriculum.

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