Letters Extra: A remarkably reactionary ring

31st January 2003 at 00:00

In her article "Deaf but not unheard" (TES, January 10), Mabel Davis eloquently adds balance to an otherwise skewed debate on educational inclusion.

The logic employed by Mabel Davis applies, of course, to all pupils with exceptional need who although entitled to access a curriculum designed for the majority will not benefit from its forced consumption.

The progressive veneer of the inclusionist lobby has a remarkably reactionary ring when faced with parents wishing to exercise preference of specialist school over mainstream placement.

Risking political incorrectness, one might suggest that an unquestioning reliance on scraps of ideology falling from academic discourse (or distain!) in sociology is likely to distract attention and divert energy from creative and innovative strategies aiming towards the DfES vision of "an ever-increasingly inclusive educational system".

Government envisages a continuum of provision catering for diversity of choice as well as pupil need. This will never be realised by adopting what Mabel Davis rightly refers to as "a one size fits all" mentality.

Instead of driving the inclusion policy with simplistic rhetoric, LEAs must realise that pupils are entitled to a good education regardless of its physical location or particular pedagogical persuasion.

Pupils and indeed practitioners will benefit from inclusive practice being informed and determined by sound research into "what works" in classrooms for pupils and respect the fact that complex learning needs require a curricular response different from that designed for the majority.

Ron Babbage
St John's School
Foundation Special School
Bedford Road

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