Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Compassion in education?

We’ve just been looking at the Hansard for Committee Stage of ‘curfew’ clauses 90 & 94 of the Education Bill. Despite spirited attempts at amendment by Sarah Teather (LibDem) and Edward Leigh (Con) - and some crassly stupid interventions from one or two committee members - Clause 90 went through. Clause 94 apparently didn’t even merit debate.

One thing really rankles. (Well, actually, a great deal rankles) Two-thirds of school exclusions are of pupils with Special Educational Needs. For example, 27% of autistic children get excluded from school in our
oh-so-inclusive culture.

The
Steer report into school discipline recommended that further work be done on the issue of children with SENs; consequently it only considered the exclusion of the one-third without SENs.

Now, given that the majority of excluded children have SENs, wouldn’t it be logical to at least wait until the ‘further work’ had been carried out before passing legislation that bans children from being outside, gives the police powers to hold them without charge, and creates a criminal offence for parents who, just like the school, have difficulties with their disabled child’s behaviour and struggle to keep him indoors?

This government has completely screwed up education for children with special needs, and now intends to punish everyone else for their disastrous failure.

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