Don't forget vital special needs expertise

20th September 1996 at 01:00
Your survey of what the experts say a national teacher-training curriculum should include (TES, September 13) disappointingly missed one vital area of expertise - the skills, knowledge and understanding demanded to help the very wide range of pupils with special educational needs.

The Government's intentions for teacher training offer at least the possibility of grater consistency in professional training for SEN. If developed and implemented carefully, they could reduce the large number of occasions on which newly-qualified teachers enter the classroom inadequately prepared to identify and support a child with, for example, specific learning difficulties.

Several recent commentaries, notably the report of the Special Educational Needs Consortium, have urged the case for coherence and longer-term thinking in teacher development to ensure that the most vulnerable children do not get the least effective professional support.

If we are serious about inclusiveness we should include SEN in the teacher training debate.

PAUL CANN Director, British Dyslexia Association 98 London Road Reading Berkshire

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