Inclusion

9th September 2005 at 01:00
MANAGING SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS. By Suanne Gibson and Sonia Blandford. Paul Chapman. pound;18.99

The strongest point about this book is that it gives a good overview of the history of special educational needs policy in this country, including recent developments on inclusion. It would be a valuable reference tool for someone writing an undergraduate assignment on special needs. The layout and presentation are clear, and there is a wealth of information on legislation and government advice papers.

However, the book does not live up to its claims of being a practical guide for mainstream teachers, teaching assistants and special educational needs co-ordinators who grapple with the daily issues of implementing good practice. It also fails to address the different contexts of primary and secondary schools.

Nobody would disagree with the authors that good inclusive strategy should encourage "high feelings of self-worth" or "a sense of personal power" in pupils. But teachers would find a discussion of realistic strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour more useful than superficial shopping lists of good practice.

Paul Blum

Deputy head, Islington Green school, north London

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