Newham's triumph with special needs

5th December 1997 at 00:00
In the wake of this year's "performance tables", I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the London borough of Newham for being the most improved education authority in England.

I would also like to congratulate it for having the courage to include, in mainstream schools, all but .3 per cent of children with special needs, the lowest level of segregation in the country.

In responding to the latest Government Green Paper Excellence for all children, with its push towards greater inclusion, many schools will be fearful about the impact of disabled children on their exam results. Newham has, over the past 12 years, progressively closed almost all its special schools, moving resourcing into the mainstream. Yet its exam results have got better rather than worse.

Evidence from inclusive schools throughout Britain points to the benefits for all children to strategies that give students with learning or behavioural problems access to the curriculum. Hopefully, Newham's example will encourage many more mainstream schools and authorities to open their doors to children with special educational needs.

STEPHANIE LORENZ

26 Worsley Road Worsley, Manchester

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