Inclusive Education in Britain?
The integration of disabled pupils into mainstream schools is being undermined by a small band of politicians and parents, disability rights campaigners argued today.
In a full-page advert in the Independent newspaper, the charity Disability Equality in Education (Diseed) said it was concerned that the recent debate on inclusion, prompted by comments from Baroness Warnock and the Conservative party, was giving a "distorted view of inclusive education".
Last month, Baroness Warnock, seen by many as the architect of inclusive education, urged a rethink of the teaching of children with special education needs (SEN) in mainstream schools and called for the creation of more specialist institutions.
Her landmark review of the schooling of disabled children in the 1970s resulted in a law change in 1981 that guaranteed all children the right to a mainstream education. It also introduced "statementing", where pupils are assessed to indicate their special needs. Baroness Warnock now claims statementing has not worked and the system needs to be reviewed.
The Conservatives, for their part, want to halt the closure of special institutions, arguing that parents should have the right to choose whether they want their SEN children educated in mainstream schools. Today's advert, signed by education charities, teachers, parents and disabled people, said: "These campaigners are undermining the inclusion of disabled pupils in mainstream schools. They seem to have missed out on 25 years of global debate and development of effective practice that has put inclusion of disabled pupils on a human rights stage."