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Special v mainstream: facts and figures

* More than one special school has closed each month since Labour came to power in 1997.

* An average of two special schools closed each month between 1984 and 1997, a period when the Conservatives were in office.

* England is one of more than 92 countries which signed a United Nations'

agreement in 1984 stating all children should be educated in mainstream schools unless a compelling reason was found not to do so.

* The number of special schools in England has dropped from 1,500 to 1,100 since 1984 and pupil numbers have fallen from 118,000 to 89,000.

* Around 1 per cent of children in England are in special schools, compared to 5 per cent in Belgium and 0.33 per cent in Italy.

* An Office for Standards in Education report on inclusion last year said that "the teaching seen of pupils with SEN was of varying quality".

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