Special edition;Leading Article;Opinion

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
Today, the TES launches its new termly magazine, TES Special Needs. Now that nearly a quarter of a million children in England have statements, and schools identify six times as many as having special needs of some kind, we will be addressing some of the the most important challenges that teachers face. Add to these figures the evidence that permanent exclusions are often related to special education needs, and we have a paradox: our school system rejects many of the children who need education the most.

TES Special Needs will report realities, not rhetoric. The current policy is to include many more children in mainstream schools. In this first issue, we report on some of the difficulties as well as the successes of inclusive practice - not least that the Government is facing both ways. Its well-received Action Programme for SEN promotes inclusion, but the continuing emphasis on competition and league tables makes it much harder for schools to deliver.

Above all, TES Special Needs will seek out successes - in mainstream and special schools, in special projects, in children's homes. Progress in this field must often be measured in small steps - and it's the small-scale achievements that can be most useful to professionals looking for solutions.

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