The injustice of segregation

31st January 1997 at 00:00
Zelda McCollum is a teacher whose daughter Chloe went to her local primary school in South London from nursery to Year 6. Chloe, who has severe learning difficulties, progressed to everyone's satisfaction.

Before secondary transfer, however, a re-assessment resulted in Chloe being directed to a special school for children with severe learning difficulties, where her needs "would best be met".

Shocked and indignant, Zelda and her husband appealed against the decision twice, and lost. For nearly two years, they educated her at home. In the end, however, Chloe's desire to be back in a school environment led her parents to send her to the special school.

"Are they saying that it's in children's best interests to be separated from their friends?" asks Mrs McCollum. "Why does specialist support have to be segregated? It makes me so sad to think we can't plan for the future, for our child to be together with other young people in our community. I'd like Chloe to be respected no matter what her abilities. I don't want to live in a competitive world where league tables dictate who goes to a school and who doesn't."

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