Warnock regrets 'blind' inclusion

7th October 2005 at 01:00
"Blind faith" in inclusion is gradually being shaken, according to the woman who has inspired special educational needs practice for the past 25 years.

Baroness Warnock, whose seminal report led to the 1981 Education Act, this week took her updated message on the need to retain special schools to Scottish teachers. She was giving the annual lecture of the General Teaching Council for Scotland in Edinburgh.

Lady Warnock, now 81, said she regretted the introduction in England of "statements", or records of need in Scotland. "With hindsight, it is possible to see how it must inevitably lead to conflict, expense and bureaucratic delays in meeting a child's probably urgent needs," she said.

It did not follow that, while the disabled should not be segregated, "their life at school must be en-tirely within the mainstream". Pupils, such as those with Aspergers syndrome, would be better educated in small, special schools.

"It seems little short of cruelty to subject them to the torrent of noise and activity of school corridors and playgrounds, and it often leads to their turning to aggression or school refusal,"

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