Comprehensive failure exposed

5th January 2001 at 00:00
As I read your article "The best inspection ever" (TES, December 22) I had cause yet again to wonder why the Government is so set on including children of all abilities in mainstream schools, when the "best ever" results for a comprehensive school are that 85 per cent of teaching is good or better.

This is low scoring indeed compared to many of the country's special schools.

In our recent Office for Standards in Education report, teaching was termed "very good or better" in 79 per cent of lessons. Teaching was "very good" overall in every area of this all-age school for pupils with severe learning difficulties.

While mainstream education will continue to be a viable option for soe pupils with special needs, the argument for inclusive education should not suggest that special education is a last resort to be considered only after attempts at inclusion have failed.

Special education is an excellent alternative to mainstream for the lucky minority of pupils who are fortunate enough to secure a place at a special school. Pupils in our schools receive an excellent education from dedicated and enthusiastic teachers, accredited qualifications and develop the life skills, self-esteem and confidence to enable them to play as full a part in society as society will allow.

Judith Chamberlain Headteacher Lakeside School, Lemsford Lance Welwyn Garden City, Herts

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