* As the debate on mainstream versus special schools escalates, it is essential that we don't lose sight of the children involved.
Inclusion is a state, not a location. The debate should be focusing on what is right for these children, all with varying needs and the resources required to support them . The concerns expressed by the National Union of Teachers should be fed into such a discussion, not used to simplify this issue.
At the National Deaf Children's Society, we believe that all deaf children have a right to an education of the same standard as that for hearing children. While some prosper in a special school, others thrive in mainstream classes; every child is unique.
Rather than arguing the pros and cons of mainstream and special schools, we should listen to what each child needs. We need a continuum of provision to ensure effective inclusion of deaf children in terms of achievement, participation and "quality of experience" in the classroom, playground and after school activities. The NDCS Deaf Friendly Schools Pledge can help schools and can be downloaded from www.ndcs.org.uk
Director UK services
National Deaf Children's Society15 Dufferin Street, London EC1