Who is retarded?;Letter

19th June 1998 at 01:00
A more sober chief inspector of schools might reflect more carefully on the comments he chooses to quote. In agreeing with author Diane McGuinness that "Everyone can learn to read unless they are mentally retarded," Chris Woodhead manages to completely undermine years of solid work by schools for children with severe learning difficulties.

Unlike Mr Woodhead and Dr McGuinness, we have moved on from referring to some children as being mentally retarded, and it may come as a surprise to both to hear that many of our children are learning to read.

They range from those who work on social sight words such as "Exit" across to those reading novels, and others who are coping with the specialist terms found on computer menus and dialogue boxes. Perhaps Mr Woodhead should read our OFSTED report from last year.

Sean O'Sullivan

Frank Wise School Hornbeam Close Banbury Oxon

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