Sunday, July 02, 2006

The betrayal of children with SENs

The Education and Skills Committee report on special needs education is expected this week and it won't make pretty reading, according to the Observer:
A damning report will raise serious questions this week over the way children with special needs are educated, highlighting 'significant cracks' in an underfunded system that leaves desperate parents without sufficient support.
Bearing in mind that the Education and Inspections Bill, with its draconian powers to prevent children excluded from school from going out, is due for comittee stage in the Lords this week, this paragraph makes us particularly angry:
The report will also say that children are being needlessly excluded from school because of behaviour associated with learning difficulties, while teachers are not trained to cope. Families face a 'postcode lottery' where 'good practice is the exception rather than the rule'. SEN must be 'radically improved' or society will face heavy costs in terms of exclusions and youth crime, it will argue. At present 87 per cent of exclusions in primary schools involve children with SEN and 60 per cent at secondary.
We'll say it again: what kind of a system reduces provision for children with SENs in the name of inclusion, and then punishes those children (and their parents) when it doesn't work?

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