The new pioneers

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
Surveys, studies and reports update by Reva Klein

Down's syndrome pupils may face failure in mainstream schools because there is no consistency in how they are treated, even within education authorities.

Researcher Christine O'Hanlon of Birmingham University says that while primary schools encourage Down's pupils, attitudes often change at secondary level. The education authorities surveyed said reasons for this included unrealistic staff expectations, funding shortfalls, class sizes and school leadership. Says O'Hanlon, "(Down's) pupils I in mainstream schools were acting as pioneers in the field of inclusion I acting (like) brave colonists to enable the future reconstruction of mainstream contexts to welcome, accept and respond to their educational needs."

For more information, contact Christine O'Hanlon at Birmingham University.

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