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New staff 'unready' for special needs

THE Government's message on the need to include special needs children in mainstream schools is failing to reach new teachers, writes Karn Thornton.

Researchers say over two-thirds of new staff feel unprepared to respond to the drive for inclusion, because of lack of time, resources and support.

More than half of the surveyed teachers, all with between two and three years' experience, said their initial teacher training had been inadequate. One said:

"Without the hlp of my special educational needs co-ordinator here I would have drowned."

The survey coincided with the launch of a Department for Education and Employment CD-ROM, which shows teachers how they can tackle inclusion.

"Still at the Crossroads: SEN, Teacher Education, and the New Millennium", by Philip Garner, Nottingham Trent University, and John Dwfor Davies, University of the West of England. For copies e-mail philip.garner@ntu.ac.uk or ring 0115 848 3793.

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