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'No agenda to close special schools'

In March, a document from the Government's special schools working group recommended increasing teacher and pupil movement between the special and mainstream sectors, and extending the exchange of professional knowledge.

In response, the minister for school standards and early years, Baroness Ashton, said: "We are committed to developing a more inclusive education system, with disabled children and those with special educational needs having more opportunity to learn and play in a mainstream setting. Special schools have an important role in making inclusion work by linking with mainstream schools.

"Inclusion is not an agenda to close special schools. I want special schools to be centres of expertise, working with mainstream schools and the wider community."

"The right of parents - where their children have a statement - to make a positive choice and express a preference for a special school place is being fully maintained."

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