Kelly's decision to go private reeks of hypocrisy

19th January 2007 at 00:00
The decision by Ruth Kelly, the former Education Secretary in England, to put her own child with special needs in an independent school is not a state-versus-private school issue. It's the cant of a politician whose constant "spin" was that educational provision for children with special needs was of a high standard, when the reality is there are no standards.

There is no mandatory qualification for teachers of SEN and no teaching qualification whatsoever for teachers of children with autism. And there are purely generic quality indicators that fail to take into account the nature of autism as a disability.

The Scottish Executive has spent pound;115 million on community schools, pound;80 million on enterprise education and pound;37.5 million on instrumental music tuition for primary children. It provides for 100 hours of training for primary teachers in how to teach PE.

What do children with an autistic spectrum disorder get? Teachers who, at best, have five hours of unassessed training supplied by an autism charity.

I await the minister's defence against the charge that, whilst the education of non-disabled children is so evidently seen as an investment, the education of children like my own is seen as a bottomless pit.

Fiona Sinclair


Autism Rights,

Arran View,



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