Special needs cuts 'affect mainstream'

30th May 1997 at 01:00
One special school has closed every two weeks in the past decade, it was revealed this week amid warnings that this was now beginning to be reflected in the demands placed on mainstream schools.

Headteachers said recent highly- publicised cases involving disruptive pupils had shown that the need for special schools remained.

They claimed there were significant consequences on mainstream schools as a result of the closure of 273 special schools since 1987.

The NAHT leadership, in a report to conference, said that integration of pupils with special needs into mainstream schools was laudable, but it had three main worries why it might be inappropriate in some cases: * the complexity of the needs and the specialism of the education required; * the need to avoid prejudicing the education of the peer group; * the efficient use of limited resources.

Last year, a report prepared by Coopers Lybrand warned about an "SEN time-bomb" and revealed local authorities were spending Pounds 2.5 billion on special needs.

The NAHT now wants a review of the way special needs are met and funded.

It has also called on the Government to set up a new agency to co-ordinate special needs policies and ensure that the full range of provision is available across England and Wales.

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