Private sector is partly to blame

29th July 2005 at 01:00

Is Kenny Frederick as much of an inclusionist as she thinks she is? ("Take the special out of special needs", TES, July 15.) Ms Frederick quite rightly makes a case for an inclusive model that seeks to address all pupils' learning and other needs, and mocks the idea of segregating pupils on the basis of race, religion, language or social class.

She suggests that inclusion is here to stay, yet the evidence suggests otherwise.

The Government supports the extension of faith schools and academies which pick and choose their pupils.

Many pupils I work with in a mental-health setting would love to be included in a local school that meets their needs, but many "inclusive" local education authorities have scrapped the local special schools that could have addressed these children's sometimes profound emotional, social and behavioural needs.

With the absence of in-borough specialist provision, the only recourse is for residential schooling miles away from their communities, at great expense in a private establishment. (You can imagine how quickly some local authorities respond to their statutory obligations to provide these pupils with their educational entitlement.) It would be refreshing to hear inclusionists denounce that final bastion of exclusive practice, the fee-paying private sector.

Inclusion, like comprehensive education, cannot exist and thrive when so many are not properly included.

Clive Niall

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