Have you noticed?

29th June 2001 at 01:00
Parents of autistic children I speak to are up in arms about the threat to close many special schools and force children into the mainstream. The nature of their disability means integration is just what they find most difficult.

Parents at the school where I am chair of governors are equally angry about the rising number of children with special needs coming into school. They support their right to be educated but don't want the education of their own little darlings disrupted.

So who thinks integration is a good idea? The Government, that's who. So it will happen despite what parents say.

Meanwhile, education authorities are supposed to be reducing the number of "statements", which officially designate children as having special needs. This means special needs children will be without external support.

The Government is also pressing councils to delegate statementing cash that supports special needs to schools. This is the educational equivalent of Care in the Community. Unfortunately, as we have discovered, the community doesn't care. More inclusion will inevitably lead to more exclusions. Who benefits? Possibly the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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