Of inclusion and unpleasantness

29th July 2005 at 01:00
After reading The TES (July 15), it is hard to decide which issue to address: Kenny Frederick's article on inclusion or Ted Wragg's personal attack on Ruth Kelly.

Ms Frederick first. I teach at a special school, and parents are queuing up to get their children into it. If anyone knows about these things, parents do.

People who espouse inclusion at any cost forget that we in the special-schools sector see ourselves as the inclusionists, and others as the excluders.

We have more inclusion in a class of 10 children than anything that appears to take place in mainstream schools. We have whole-school assemblies in which every child has the chance to shine. We have inter-school sports matches; we have awards ceremonies that build self-esteem; work experience is real and valuable; outdoor activities are challenging; and we have national accreditation for every child. How often does this happen in mainstream schools?

Yes, there are some children who should be in mainstream education, but I am fed up with the castigation of the special sector when it offers children an experience they would not get elsewhere. Why else would webe doing this job?

Ted Wragg, usually funny, was unpleasant in his piece. His comments on Ruth Kelly were neither funny nor accurate.

Ms Kelly has been to our school three times. She approached our pupils openly and warmly. She asked our opinions. She was pleasant, and was not at all like the picture he painted. Shame on you, Ted!

Margaret Riley

67 Lymbridge Drive Blackrod, Lancs

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