Becta neglects special needs

9th June 2006 at 01:00
Your editorial on inclusion ("Ministers must act on inclusion", TES, May 19) criticised the Government's rush into mainstream placements for all.

You emphasised that without more staff, specialist support and better training, then inclusion will not succeed.

In the same issue there was a story ("Special needs at Becta") explaining how the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency has chosen to redeploy eight of its nine members of a national team that supports use of ICT by pupils with special needs. Becta suggests that this move is designed to embed awareness of issues relating to special needs in the work of every department.

This redeployment will have a destructive impact on those of us working with children with special needs. Experts who worked together as a supportive team, dispersed among other departments, will slowly but surely have their skills and knowledge diluted. Also, as they move on, where will the motivation be for other skilled practitioners to replace them?

Might there be something that Becta is not telling us, about its and our government's real values when it comes to vulnerable learners?

I would urge people to contact their MP so you can join a lobby of Parliament planned for June 19 at 3.30 pm in room 21b. Even if you can't attend, it would still be valuable to contact your MP to protest at this ill-informed move. You can read one person's view on this issue at: http:www.inclusive.co.ukreports2006becta_sen.shtml

Sean O'Sullivan

Deputy headteacher

Frank Wise school, Banbury

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