Impossible to include

30th June 2006 at 01:00
As chairman of governors of a small primary school with many children with special needs, I read Dr Phil Bayliss's article with interest ("No wonder inclusion is a term of abuse", TES, June 16).

Over the years we have had children with behavioural problems that have presented impossible challenges to our able staff. It only needs one such child to disrupt the education of others in the class. I agree with Dr Bayliss that "teachers cannot be expected to know everything and deal with the complexities presented by the minority of children with significant needs".

I also agree that if inclusion is nevertheless desirable for educational and social justice reasons then the system needs to provide specialists who can meet these significant needs.

The big question here, though, is: who pays? Quite simply, our school cannot afford to hire such specialists. I also know, as a county councillor, that the drive to "get the money into schools" means that the education authority does not have the funds to keep a reserve team of qualified specialist teachers who can go into any school chosen by a parent whose child has very high level of need.

Yes, we have excellent behaviour support advisers, for example, but there are not enough of them to be able to commit to individual schools for an indeterminate time.

I hope Dr Bayliss's article sparks a thorough debate about this issue. If a solution is not found then schools like ours will continue to be challenged beyond what is reasonable, with consequent exclusions, tribunal appeals, and all the attendant costs.

Martin Vye The Dacha, Patrixbourne Road, Bridge, Canterbury, Kent

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