Segregation is not the answer

28th October 2005 at 01:00
As your columnist Louisa Leaman points out the most unsurprising result of the TES poll is that "behavioural issues are causing the most consternation". Teachers, however, would be wrong to conclude that children with behavioural difficulties benefit from placement in special schools.

The research evidence is equivocal, and there are good reasons for avoiding a situation where pupils' only peer role models are others with behavioural difficulties.

Unfortunately, the inclusion debate has got mixed up with that about the alleged increase in anti-social behaviour. The solutions envisaged are increasingly segregationist: build more prisons and special schools - with the latter by and large filled by the poor and the disadvantaged.

If teachers want that kind of society, they should carry on giving more time and resources to those most likely to improve the school's exam results, in other words pupils who do not have special needs. If they don't, they should change their priorities.

Professor John Quicke

22, Dalewood Road


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