Assault case fault of inclusive ethos

15th September 2000 at 01:00
I WAS pleased to see that headteacher Marjorie Evans was relieved of her conviction and sentence for assault.

However, it does raise a topical subject - "inclusion". It could be said that the boy in the case was disrupting a mainstream school.

As the chairman of governors of a primary school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties I can tell you that we started four years ago with three boys, all five and six-year-olds.

To my surprise, after being with us for a month or six weeks they were transformed into well- behaved little boys who were keen to come to school. We believed we had every hope of returning some to mainstream.

That sort of entry no longer occurs and we don't get children until they are eight or nine now. These older children are difficult to control, disrupt the school, and damage staff. In one week during the past 12 monhs the time used in other than classroom teaching - controlling, reporting and investigating - amounted to one person's week. What a waste of effort.

The fact is that we get eight and nine-year-olds because "inclusion" demands that mainstream schools keep children until they can't stand them any more. Such children come to us too late for us to do anything useful and we have no hope of returning them to mainstream.

This means that, on the face of it, the school is underachieving, which affects staff morale.

I am aware that I am probably in a small minority but hands-on experience leads me to say that "inclusion" is a nonsense.

It is not fair to mainstream schools, and it is not fair to special schools and, more particularly, it is not fair to the children.

JG Roberts


Berghers Hill

Wooburn Green


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