Shut out

14th February 2003 at 00:00
I continue to be amazed at the ability of the education community in Glasgow to believe that it operates a coherent and apparently successful policy of social inclusion.

Tom Burnett is obviously delighted with the success of his "fight against disadvantage" (TESS, January 31), not least because of the positive partnerships forged through his visionary and determined leadership.

The alleged success of the learning communities in the east end of Glasgow is particularly galling to those of us deliberately excluded from these paradigms of social inclusion. Has anyone stopped to ask why the pupils, parents and staff of the local special schools were excluded from the pilot schemes?

There are a significant number of highly disadvantaged individuals for whom, if we are to believe the rhetoric of inclusion, the learning communities were conceived with the intention of supporting.

These individuals are yet to be formally included in any learning community. Tentative acknowledgement of our existence has been made but I have little reason to believe that we are welcomed, desired, or wanted.

Honest inclusion would require a change of attitude and approach to the whole business of learning and teaching. The Scottish Executive, local authorities and teaching unions have yet to work that out.

Glasgow's concept of inclusion is addressed only to those who can include themselves within the existing mainstream framework. Without a change in attitude and values, it is a policy doomed to fail and deserves our pity.

Maureen K Michael (a teacher of young people with moderate learning difficulties and challenging behaviour) Onslow Drive, Glasgow

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