Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

news from 2002

End of year review

Government and LEA trends

It was year of progress for inclusion as Government made more money available for improving access to mainstream schools and local education authorities (LEAs) moved ahead with special needs restructuring plans. More separate special schools were scheduled for closure but Government remained adamant that there was still an important role for segregated schooling. This contradictory Government position of supporting both inclusion and segregation meant some LEAS found themselves in the confusing situation of defending their special school closure plans as national policy against parents who complained they were not getting the choice of settings promised by the Government.

A highlight in the year was Manchester LEA's plans to close six special schools and move pupils to mainstream which went ahead despite a battle by parents to keep them open. A young people's scrutiny committee in Manchester, which is among the highest segregating authorities in UK, will monitor schools during the closure programme. In a foretaste of things to come, young people from special schools joined pupils from mainstream schools for the spectacular July opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games hosted by the city.

In Wolverhampton teachers as well as pupils became the focus for inclusion efforts when councilors drew attention to the levels of recruitment for disabled people among teaching staff.

Other authorities recognised for their efforts towards inclusion during the year included Kent, Rochdale, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, North Tyneside, Haringey, Worcestershire, Poole, Lancashire, Devon, Cumbria, Staffordshire, Rotherham, Liverpool, and Shropshire. In general, the publicity was positive although many authorities had to deal with doubts by concerned parents about special school closures. Only one LEA, Staffordshire, was reported to have been criticised by OFSTED for having an unsatisfactory inclusion policy and this was being updated by the end of the year.

A different picture emerged in an analysis by Times Educational Supplement writer, Nicholas Pyke, who reported that inclusion appeared to be coming to a halt and could go into reverse. He said children with moderate impairments continued to move out of special schools but their places were being taken by rising numbers of pupils with behaviour problems.

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Mainstream developments

The year brought many inspiring examples of efforts in mainstream schools to foster inclusion and in November CSIE highlighted good practice by organising an Inclusion Week However, the number of children excluded on disciplinary grounds increased.

Statistics released in May showed that the number of children expelled from school had risen for the first time since Labour came to power. Permanent exclusions in primary schools went up by nearly a fifth and there was ten per cent. rise for older pupils. The Department for Education was said to be relaxed about the development because the expansion of pupil referral units for difficult pupils meant that excluded pupils were no longer 'left to roam the streets'.

Earlier, teachers at their union conferences called for new powers to identify potentially violent pupils and for a new offence of attacking a public service worker. Disability Rights campaigners said the move would give headteachers a veto on admitting any pupil with behaviour problems or disabilities.

An innovative scheme was introduced in four Westminster, London, schools in July with the aim of tackling truancy, street crime and the number of youngsters excluded from schools. Teams including learning mentors, education welfare officers and police officers were made available to work with 'at risk' youngsters.

As part of 2002 Autism Awareness Year staff of a school's unit for autistic children pledged that their main aim was to integrate the youngsters into mainstream classes. Staff in the school had received training and pupils were due to have assemblies and discussions aimed at befriending their counterparts in the unit and reducing their reliance on teachers.

Elsewhere pupils experienced what it's like to have a physical impairment by using a wheelchair for a day and others learned sign language.

There were also moves in Oxfordshire for a purpose-built school with classrooms for mainstream children and children with learning disabilities; for an education centre in Bristol which encourages special school and mainstream pupils to study together; and for a co-location scheme in Birmingham to locate a special school and a primary school on one site.

A major study of the impact of inclusion in Scotland found problems concerning lack of teacher training and pupils needs not being met. The study led to calls for more funding to address 'the gap between a laudable ideology and the practical requirements of implementing it'. David Hartley, President of the Association of Teachers of the Deaf, called for changes in funding after he claimed devolving money from LEAs directly to schools had led to substantial reductions in funds available for specialist staff and equipment.

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Legislative moves

The new disability discrimination legislation was introduced in September making it illegal for schools to discriminate against disabled pupils by treating them less favourably and by failing to make reasonable adjustments. Schools and LEAS were also required to progressively improve access to the curriculum and physical environment through new planning duties.

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Family struggles and successes

Parents and families continued to struggle to improve inadequate mainstream support and looked to the new disability discrimination legislation to help them.

There were also concerns about bullying. One pupil, who was bullied, was offered home tuition but his mother pressed officials to find him a mainstream place because she said he needed to be with other children and learn social skills. Another disabled pupil was reported to have been forced to move back to residential special schooling because of the problem. His mother welcomed plans to set up antisocial behaviour units for bullies which, she claimed, would address the underlying reasons leading to pupils to taunt their classmates. Meanwhile, the situation of a boy who had been without schooling for four years after being rejected by a mainstream school, a special centre, and a special school was described as 'completely unacceptable' by his solictor.

Parents behind the setting up of the Special Schools Protection League in Gloucestershire said children with learning difficulties were threatening to take their own lives rather than go to school. They made the claim as they re-launched the organisation as a national body to co-ordinate the various campaigns against special school closures taking place around the country.

On a more positive note, Danielle Griffiths, a 16-year-old disabled pupil, was awarded a Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to school life; Angela McDonagh, education officer for the North Wales Deaf Associaton, was commended for her work with deaf pupils; and Sharron Hardman, a disabled teacher, was honoured with an MBE after being recommended by a group of parents. Ms. Hardman, 48, said that the award indicated to pupils that anything was possible. She added: 'I strongly believe in inclusive education'.

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Comments and criticisms

During the year the Disability Rights Commission kept awareness of disability issues high by publicising the key findings of surveys and reports.

These revealed that most people believed disabled children should be educated in mainstream schools and that there had been a 50 percent increase in the number of discrimination cases backed by the Commission, including discrimination in education. It was also discovered that many disabled teenagers were discouraged by their teachers from taking GCSEs.

There were also warnings that some schools were not prepared for the extension of the Disability Discrimination Act to cover education. Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers said putting disabled children in normal classes was the right thing to do. However, schools needed the resources to adapt buildings and take on specialist staff.

The National Autistic Society announced that one in five autistic children were excluded from school, 20 times the national average. The Society said that under the new discrimination legislation, schools would have to think twice before excluding a pupil with recognised autism.

As part of Inclusion Week in November, CSIE issued a new report on trends in inclusion and exclusion. Mark Vaughan, founder of CSIE, called on Government to take a firmer lead to force the higher segregating authorities to develop inclusion policies. He said it was 'unfair and unjust' that moves towards inclusion had been so slow and that a 'huge shift in culture' was needed to ensure that all children could be educated in mainstream schools.

As the year came to a close, a major report from the Audit Commission found that provision for disabled children in mainstream schools was patchy and too often treated as an 'add-on'. It also reported that some schools were reluctant to admit children experiencing difficulties because of the impact on examination league tables. A Government spokesman said it was considering 'ways of recognising the wider achievements of schools in catering for a diverse range of pupils'

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The Northern Ireland Department of Education is to be pressed by Newry and Mourne Council to introduce sign language as part of the curriculum of all primary schools. Councillors agreed to take the necessary steps as part of its ongoing drive on equality to ensure that the needs of young people with hearing impairments are addressed.
Newry Reporter, January 10, 2002.

A diabetic teenager has won a legal ruling against his school after being banned from attending activity trips because of his disability. Tom White, 16, was told by Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Lancashire, that he could not go on a water sports holiday in France because of his diabetes. Preston County Court has ruled that the school acted illegally in barring the youth. Tom said: 'All I wanted was to be treated like everyone else, not to be made to feel different just because I have diabetes. I hope no other pupil has to suffer discrimination of this nature.' The Disability Discrimination Act does not yet cover the education system and the school used that loophole to impose the ban. But the judge said that the school should not have barred Tom from activities which would not be seen as part of his formal education. From September new laws will close this loophole. Disabled students will be given better protection because schools, colleges and universities will be required to make 'reasonable adjustments' for them.
The Independent, January 14, 2002.

A mother forced to take her special needs son out of mainstream school has welcomed a Government clampdown on bullying. Pat Payne claims that tough new plans to introduce special anti-social behaviour units for bullies will look at the underlying reasons which lead to children taunting their classmates. Pat's 14-year-old son, Anthony, was among a number of children with special needs to be integrated into mainstream education as an experiment last year. But continual bullying about his learning difficulties from other children led to Anthony being removed from Grangefield School, Stockton, and sent back back to his old residential school. The Government moves on bullying are in response to growing national concern about violence in classrooms. As part of a new clampdown pupils caught with a weapon can be expelled on a first offence.
Evening Gazette (Teeside), January 17, 2002.

A disabled teenager has scooped a national award for her outstanding contribution to school life. Danielle Griffiths,16, a pupil at Cardinal Allen RC School in Fleetwood, was given a Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award. Not only is Danielle a conscientious student, she is also a prefect and bullying mentor and is always on hand to help others at the school. Teacher, Anna Blythe, who is head of Danielle's year, said: 'Her exemplary personal, social and academic progress is an inspiration to others, especially younger pupils and those who are on occasions vulnerable.'
Blackpool Gazette, January 19, 2002.

Able-bodied pupils from West Cumbria have been going to classes in wheelchairs to get a better understanding of what it's like to be disabled. Whitehaven School pupils have been exploring different aspects of physical disability for their GNVQ health and social care course. They teamed up with Earl Street Mobility Centre in Cleator Moor to learn what it is like to get around in a wheelchair.
West Cumbrian Gazette, January 24, 2002.

Teachers at a school's £380,000 unit for autistic children say their main aim this year is to integrate the youngsters into mainstream classes. Adrienne Wright, head of the communication and learning department at Beal High School, Clayhall, made the pledge before the official opening ceremony yesterday during 2002 Autism Awareness Year. Staff from the rest of the school have already had training on autism awareness and pupils will have assemblies and talks in their tutor groups aimed at encouraging them to befriend their counterparts in the unit and reduce their reliance on teachers. Mrs Wright said: 'If we can do something to raise the understanding among the mainstream students about what it means and what it is like to have autism and why the children behave like they do, that would have a huge impact.'
Ilford Recorder, January 24, 2002.

A review of special schools across Kent has received support from head teachers. Steven McGuiness, of Rowhill Community Special School in Wilmington, is one of many countywide supporting the Kent County Council initiative. Mr. McGuiness said: 'Hopefully a review of special schools will result in more focused provision, which will enable us to have the resources to support mainstream schools, who have an ever growing number of children with special educational needs.' The shake-up could see some schools close or have their roles changed to cater for pupils with complex problems, while supporting special needs children in mainstream education.
Dartford and Swanley Extra Informer, January 25, 2002.

Scottish councils yesterday questioned whether there was enough cash set aside to renovate schools so disabled pupils could get a mainstream education. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities estimated that altering school buildings in South Lanarkshire alone could cost as much as £10 million. COSLA raised its concerns after Finance Minister, Andy Kerr, pledged to provide £9 million a year to pay for the measures contained in the Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils' Records) (Scotland Bill). The minister said cash would also be available through the inclusion programme which backs efforts to improve access to school buildings and the curriculum for disabled pupils.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, January 30, 2002.

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A mum whose young son has special needs today condemned plans for a shake-up of the education, he receives. Ruth Mason, whose 12-year-old son Amos has severe learning difficulties, has attacked Lancashire County Council after it said it was considering closing some special needs schools as pupils move into mainstream classes. But Ruth believes that the education that special needs children receive is fine. Her son is a pupil at the Peartree Special School, Kirkham. She believes the Council should be opening more schools like this rather than closing them.
Lancashire Evening Post, February 4, 2002.

Pupils at a Birmingham secondary school have added sign language to their normal lessons -- to prepare for the pioneering transfer of deaf pupils from a city special school. Hodge Hill will be the only school in Europe to combine with a school for hearing impaired pupils when it links up permanently with Braidwood School in Erdington. A £3.5 million building programme is due to begin at Hodge Hill School in March to accommodate the innovative partnership. Braidwood pupils aged 11-- 16 will transfer gradually to Hodge Hill, accompanied by their staff who are all qualified in using sign language.
Birmingham Post, February 8, 2002.

The mother of an autistic child was today celebrating a double success after securing funding for her son's pioneering education and raising thousands of pounds at a charity evening. Ainsley Johnson can now look forward to three-year-old Joseph receiving full-time, mainstream teaching after Education Bradford agreed to fund his special tutoring. And more than £3,000 was raised at the charity night for Joseph. An Education Bradford spokesman said that a course of action had been proposed which included funding an applied behaviour plan.
Bradford Telegraph and Argus, February 14, 2002.

The Guernsey Education Council are meeting staff and parents of children at the island's special needs schools to discuss special needs provision. Council President Martin Ozanne said that Guernsey did not want to follow the UK model of mixing mainstream and special needs schools which had 'gone along this route to the full extent'. He said the Council wanted to look at a tailor-made Guernsey solution to special needs provision.
Guernsey Weekly Press and Star, February 7, 2002.

Parents and youngsters can find out more about how changes in legislation for disabled pupils will affect them. The Include Me event organised by Scope, which campaigns for people with cerebral palsy, and Stockton Parent Support will be at the Oakwood Centre on Saturday, March 9. The aim is to help launch a new group called Mainstream Matters for parents of children with special needs in mainstream schools.
Teesside Evening Gazette, February 15, 2002.

Education chiefs have been grilled by parents and staff over proposals to close a Gorton school for children with learning difficulties. Representatives from Gorton Brook School, Manchester, including head teacher, Ivor John, governors and concerned parents, attended a meeting organised by the Local Education Authority. A period of consultation on the proposals ends today and a decision will be taken in May on whether the school will close. The meeting held at Manchester City Football Club was presented by Jackie Harrop, head of the LEA's access and inclusion branch, and Linda Malloy, member of the special needs team.
Moston, Middleton and Blackley Express, February 22, 2002.

Work has started in Witney on the first primary school in Oxfordshire to provide education for mainstream children and those with special needs under one roof. Madley Brook and Springfield Primary School is being built on the new Madley Park development. The new primary school is due to open in March 2003 and Springfield school will move from its existing premises in the summer of 2003. The new school will include nine classrooms for mainstream pupils and seven for children with learning disabilities. There will be one integrated nursery and one special school nursery. Head of Springfield School, Christina Niner, said: 'We are extremely fortunate to be included in this exciting development. Our pupils for the first time will have access to a purpose built-school designed to meet their needs.'
Oxford Mail, February 25, 2002.

The number of disabled staff recruited to Wolverhampton schools is well below target, councillors have been told. Councillors fear people are being put off school jobs because of access problems to the buildings. The target figure is that disabled people make up six per cent of staff in city schools but only four per cent of applicants for teaching posts are disabled.
Wolverhampton Chronicle, February 25, 2002.

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Parents and teachers are far from unanimous over the best way to shake up special education in Rochdale. Their differing views were aired at a Special Schools Review Panel meeting at the Town Hall this week. Rochdale Council's Education Department has submitted a £39.7 million Private Finance Initiative Bid to the Government to build new special schools on existing mainstream sites. Some of those present at the meeting wanted total inclusion, while others wanted all children educated in the same building, but with separate facilities for the children with special needs. There are also a group of parents who are happy to keep their children in existing special schools which would close under the PFI plan.
Rochdale Observer, March 2, 2002.

The situation of a boy who was been without schooling for four years after a mainstream school, a special center and a special school refused to have him has been described as 'completely unacceptable' by his solicitor. After the long struggle to find a school for Jordan Hextall, his mother has instructed the solicitor to fight Sheffield LEA in court. Jordan, who is mother agrees is hard to handle, was expelled from Firth Park School within weeks of starting, aged 11, and then asked to leave a special center for expelled pupils. Dr. John Worral School, which caters for special needs children, has also refused to admit Jordan.
Sheffield Weekly Gazette, March 7, 2002.

A big shake-up in the way children with special educational needs are educated in being planned by Buckinghamshire County Council. New schools could be built which would be able to help children with complex problems. Presently such children are sent to special schools outside the county at vast expense - there are currently 130 children in special schools outside Bucks, costing the taxpayer £4 million a year. In addition some existing special schools could be amalgamated on new sites and their land sold to help fund the new buildings. Also more specialist departments are to be built at mainstream schools.
Marlow Free Press, March 8, 2002.

Special school parents have passed a vote of no confidence in Gloucester County Council's education department claiming it has broken promises to them. The parents who are against the closure of Dean Hall School said they were still waiting for letters outlining the proposals from Charmian Sheppard, portfolio holder for education and also for her to visit the school to see how it was run. The Council wants to close the school as part of its Special Educational Needs Development Plan.
Citizen (Gloucester), March 23, 2002.

The mother of a boy who was brain damaged at birth says Bedfordshire education authority is putting other children in danger by keeping him at a mainstream school. Sonya Atthews says Dean,11, is bullied because he is different. As a result he lashes out in frustration and has a history of injuring other children. He has been excluded from lessons on occasions at Alameda Middle School because the teachers can not cope with his violent tendencies. Until recently he was made to wear a red bobble hat in the playground so that teachers can see him easily, but now he is not allowed out to play at all. Sonya said: 'The school can't cope and I don't blame the staff. Now the LEA has decided that he can only go for half a day. The head of learning support said she was physically and mentally exhausted and scared'. A county council spokesman said that the education authority was awaiting advice from health colleagues in order to decide Dean's educational needs.
Bedfordshire on Sunday, March 24, 2002.

Disabled pupils throughout North Tyneside are set to benefit from improved facilities with the help of a cash boost of over £280,00. The money will be used to fund alterations throughout mainstream schools. A North Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: 'We are linking this with the strategic plan for Inclusive Education. The aim of the LEA is to continue and extend the focus on existing pupils with special educational needs including visual and hearing impairments, complex communication difficulties and physical difficulties'. The cash is part of a £3.8m boost for the North East which was announced by Schools Minister, Catherine Ashton. The £70 million nationwide is the second phase of the £220 million Schools Access Initiative which has increased funding for disability access substantially since 1996-7.
Wallsend News Guardian, March 28 2002.

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Teachers have called for new powers to identify potentially violent pupils and for a new offence of attacking a public service worker. Members of the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers demanded the measures to improve school safety at their conferences yesterday. Nigel de Gruchy's proposal for legislation to punish those who assaulted teachers, nurses and other public service workers was not accepted by the Schools Minister, Stephen Timms. Mr. Timms said new legislation was not needed; existing provisions were not as well used as they could be. Meanwhile NUT delegates called head teachers to be given the right to have pupils screened for behaviour disorders before they were admitted to school. A motion agreed by members would allow schools to refuse to admit pupils with disorders if local education authorities failed to come up with extra funding to support them in the classroom. Disability rights campaigners said the move would in effect give head teachers a veto on admitting any pupils with behaviour problems or disabilities. The NUT will seek an amendment to education legislation currently before Parliament that would grant head teachers the right to refer any child for psychological assessment from September.
The Independent, April 3, 2002.

Angela McDonagh has made great progress in her job as education officer for the North Wales Deaf Association. Angela, 40, who is profoundly deaf, is regarded as a role model, raising the profile of people with disabilities and proving that deaf children can achieve on the same level as hearing children. She said: 'My role is to go into schools and colleges all over North Wales to encourage and support children with a hearing loss, preventing them from feeling isolated and lonely'.
Daily Post, Wales, April 4, 2002.

Northern Ireland Education Minister, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA and Employment and Learning Minister, Carmel Hanna, MLA, have announced a revision to the timetable for introducing legislation addressing special educational needs and disabilities. Under an earlier estimate it was anticipated that the proposed legislation which will provide further access and opportunities for local school pupils would be introduced in the 2002/03 session. Mr. McGuinness said the revised timetable would allow adequate time to consult in an innovative and adequate manner to ensure effective legislation.
Banbridge Chronicle, April 4, 2002.

Governors of Langley Special School and Coppice Junior School, in Sutton Coldfield, have asked Birmingham LEA to look into accommodating the schools on the same site. A spokesman for the LEA said it was not looking into merging the schools but at arranging a co-location. 'There may be more integration once the schools are on the same site, which is a good thing in terms of our inclusion policies. But it will not be a complete merger. Our inclusion policy is very much geared either to co-location or integration with mainstream schools. Clearly there are some occasions when pupils need to be educated separately which will be taken into account'. Birmingham Post, April 15, 2002.

The Scottish Executive's flagship policy of educating children with learning and behavioural difficulties in mainstream secondary schools is failing, academics have claimed. In the first major study of the impact of inclusion in Scotland, Dr. Brian Boyd and Paul Hamill, from Strathclyde University, found a majority of secondary teachers did not think the policy was working. The report, which assessed the inclusion strategy of East Lothian Council, found that teachers felt under trained and did not fully understand the aims of the policy, while some parents felt the needs of their children were not being addressed. According to Dr. Boyd: 'The biggest single issue is the conflicting pressure on schools to raise attainment while at the same time promoting inclusion. Some feel it is a circle that is impossible to square. Mike Russell, the Scottish National Party's education spokesman, said the problems were a result of the gap between a laudable ideology and the practical requirements of implementing it. More money was needed to fund additional training and support staff.
The Scotsman, April 20, 2002.

A report released by the State Education Department in New York says that special education students are more likely to perform better academically when placed in mainstream education classes than in separate settings. Of the fourth grade special education students placed in general classrooms for more than 80 per cent. of the school days, 33.3 per cent scored at Level 3 or above in the state-wide English test and 49.8 per cent in the similar maths test. But of the fourth grade special education students placed in general classrooms for less than 40 per cent. of the school days, only 8.4 per cent. scored at Level 3 or above in the State-wide English test and 13.9 per cent. in the similar maths test. This achievement pattern for special education students in classrooms and in segregated settings, also holds true for eighth graders. The report does not make clear whether the difference in education settings can account for the achievement gap between the two groups or whether children with less debilitating disabilities are more likely to be placed in general classrooms for large portions of the day.
New York Times, April 24, 2002.

David Hartley, President of the Association of Teachers of the Deaf, says that recent decisions to devolve money from LEAs directly to schools have led to substantial reductions in the funds available for specialist staff and equipment, affecting both the quantity and quality of support for deaf pupils. Mr. Hartley supports the inclusion of children who are deaf in mainstream schools but says separate funding should be set aside for them.
Yorkshire Post, Leeds, April 29, 2002.

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According to the authors of a report on inclusive education in East Lothian, Paul Hamill and Brian Boyd, one of the key challenges facing teachers is how can they pursue a social inclusion agenda, educating pupils with special educational needs and emotional and behavioural difficulties in a mainstream setting, while also raising attainment. They said two messages were being given to schools asking them to raise attainment and be radically more inclusive at the same time. However, Alan Black, East Lothian's director of education and community services, said social inclusion and raising attainment were not mutually exclusive. 'It's about closing the gap between the academic performance of the best and that of the more challenged.' Mr. Black also said it was important to explore further what was meant by attainment. 'For some young people attending school regularly itself is an attainment'.
Times Educational Supplement, Scotland, May 10, 2002.

Over 40 projects across Scotland that promote an inclusive approach to the education of children with special educational needs are set to benefit from a £5m funding package from the Scottish Executive. The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Innovative Grants Programme was established to recognise and fund good innovative practice. The programme focuses on improving inclusive practices in schools, greater partnership working with voluntary organisations and empowering parents and young people to participate fully in decisions which affect them.
Caribbean Times, May 10, 2002.

A Bristol brother and a sister who are both chronically ill are missing out on part of their education because of their illness. Malcolm Edgeworth, 12, and his 13-year-old sister, Helen, who live in Shirehampton, receive only two and a half hours of lessons a day. Their mother, Verena, claims her children's position is unfair especially when the Government is spending £2 million on Bristol's worst behaved pupils. She was incensed when she read of the money soon to be spent on trying to keep children in school who do not want to be there. She said: 'There is a lack of provision for children like mine who cannot go to school through no fault of their own.' Bristol Evening Post, May 22, 2002

A school in Old Swan and another in Edge Lane, Liverpool, are to receive a share of £700,000 to aid access for disabled people. The City Council is providing the cash so disabled youngsters will have a greater choice when entering mainstream education and greater freedom and independence for youngsters in wheelchairs already at the schools. Liverpool Director of Education and Lifelong Learning, Colin Hilton, said: 'This initiative is not only opening up more of our schools to all children in the city but increasing choice and improving rights'.
Trader (Dinnington and Maltby), May 23, 2002

Life has been made a little easier for a local youngster who recently transferred to the junior section of Wales Primary School in Rotherham. Michael Churm, who has cerebral palsy, has been a pupil since 1998 but since he moved up to the juniors his classroom has been on the first floor 'Michael has difficulty with the stairs so Rotherham Council has installed a lift for us', said Jackie Dawes, headteacher.
Trader (Dinnington and Maltby), May 23, 2002.

The number of children expelled from school has risen for the first time since Labour came to power. Permanent exclusions in primary schools went up nearly a fifth and there was a 10 per cent rise for older pupils. The figures are bad news for the Government, which made reducing expulsions a central plank of its education policy and means it is likely to miss its target of reducing them by a third by September. Headteachers blamed the rise on a higher incidence of violence and disruption but the Government's policy U-turn and confusion over the issues has contributed. But Estelle Morris, the Education Secretary, was said to be relaxed about the figures published by her Department. 'We are not embarrassed about it because we have put money into building pupil referral units so head teachers can exclude responsibly and with confidence, knowing pupils will be educated in the units and not left to roam the streets'.
Electronic Telegraph, May 24, 2002.

Teaching disabled student in regular classrooms has become a 'nightmare' in Nova Scotia, Canada, and could soon be elsewhere, says Brian Forbes, president of the province's teachers union. The Nova Scotia Teachers Union has caused alarm across Canada among advocates of inclusive education after delegates at its meeting last weekend voted unanimously to withdraw support for a policy now common in schools throughout the country. According to Mr. Forbes, teachers do not want to return to the days when disabled children are segregated in regular classes, but they do expect the government to pay for its policy of inclusion. Jane Purves, Nova Scotia's Education Minister, said the provinces entire school system needed more money. 'It's not as if every classroom is in chaos because of inclusion.' Richard Starr, a Nova Scotia MP, called on an adjustment in attitudes from both teachers and government. He said: 'Like it or not, the Constitution says these kids have the right to an equal education, alongside other students. That should not be subject to budgetary whims'.
National Post Online, May 26, 2002.

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To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education is organising Inclusion Week from November 11--15. It is encouraging schools to hold events that highlight good practice in responding to diversity and resisting exclusion.
Child Education, June 1, 2002.

Two Whitby Schools are to be given over £100,000 to improve access and facilities for disabled pupils. The funding is part of a £2 million programme of improvements for 54 schools across the North Yorkshire region as part of the Schools Access Initiative. Airy Hill School is to receive £21,700 which it will spend on a new toilet and shower. The other beneficiary is Whitby Community College which is to receive £87,250 for a new lift and ramp.
Driffield Times, June 5, 2002.

Work had become to integrate deaf children in Birmingham into a mainstream school. Hodge Hill will link up permanently with Braidwood School. The £3.5 million scheme, which is now underway, will see Braidwood move from its current location to the Hodge Hill site. Some of the funding will also be used to modify existing buildings to make them accessible to wheelchair users. To help communications children at Hodge Hill have been learning sign language.
Birmingham Evening Mail, June 6, 2002.

The future of special schools was thrown into confusion for parents when they heard that a key school was being shut down for good. But Worcestershire County Council's closure of Cliffey House School in Hanley Castle, is paving the way for a new inclusive education system. The Council's cabinet last week agreed to approve the special educational needs policy. Parents of children with SEN are being told to rest easy. Ruth Chiva, head of school services at Worcestershire Council says inclusive education will mean better education. The plans are in response to Government legislation which prescribes that children should not be separated from their peers.
Worcester Evening News, June 11, 2002.

A hi-tech access bus designed to help disabled people who want to study Open University courses is touring the country. The £100,000 mobile assessment unit was launched by Maria Eagle, MP, Minister for Disabled People, at the OU's Milton Keynes HQ last November. Since then it has been on the road visiting potential students at their own homes to assess what specialist educational technologies they will need to enable them to study at the OU.
KM Extra (Canterbury), June 14, 2002.

Inspirational schoolteacher, Sharron Hardman, has been honoured with an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Miss Hardman, 48, is a special needs teacher at Gorsefield County Primary in Radcliffe. Her name was put forward by a group of grateful parents. She has suffered from scoliosis -- curvature of the spine - since she was ten years old and it is partly because of her own disability that she has so much empathy with her pupils. Miss Hardman said: 'I'm really pleased that the MBE will convey to them that anything is possible. I strongly believe in inclusive education.'
Radcliffe Times, June 20, 2002.

Leicester Schools are to be offered up to £150,000 to admit more children with special needs and teach them alongside other pupils. City education leaders want to create a vanguard of primary and secondary schools with extra staff and resources that will spearhead teaching special needs children in mainstream classes. They want to encourage special schools to forge partnerships with mainstream schools to create more opportunities for special needs pupils to learn and mix with other pupils. The plans are part of a review of special education which aims to give all special needs children the chance to be taught in a mainstream school close to home.
'This is Leicestershire', June 17, 2002.

Manchester education chiefs have earmarked six primary and secondary special schools for closure as part of a city-wide review of the provision for children with special educational needs, aimed at placing more of them in mainstream schools. Alongside the school closures the authority says it will open a new secondary school for children with moderate learning difficulties; improve resourcing, training and support in mainstream classrooms; set up learning support centres and establish a kite mark of good practice. Campaigners fighting against the proposals fear their children will be marginalised. But education bosses point to mainstream schools in the city that are already supporting children with special needs and the increasing numbers of parents who are asking for their children to be taught in local schools, rather than being bussed across the city.
Manchester Evening News, June 19, 2002.

A special school for children with behaviour problems has been closed following lack of support from teachers and parents. Now Haringey Council, London, plans to set up three units for different age groups of pupils experiencing behaviour difficulties. This represents a move towards trying to get the children back into mainstream education. Greenfields School was placed in special measures by Ofsted after problems with violent behaviour by pupils. It was removed from special measures after inspectors deemed that the situation had improved significantly. But teachers struggled to cope with an influx of new pupils and it shut for an indefinite period in October after three most senior members of staff signed off sick.
Haringey Advertiser, June 26, 2002.

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A new £70 million boost to improve facilities and access for disabled pupils in mainstream schools has been announced by the Government. This is the second phase of the £220 million Schools Access Initiative, which represents a seven-fold increase in the funding for disability access since 1996-97. The money will be used to fund a wide range of improvements, such a ramps, lifts and easy-to-open doors for children with mobility problems, enhanced paint schemes and adjustable lighting for partially sighted children, acoustic loops and tiling of classrooms for deaf children. It will also be used to buy information and communications technology equipment to benefit children with a range of disabilities.
Special, July 1, 2002.

A disabled student who came top of his class is planning to boycott his own graduation ceremony because of its wheelchair facilities. Mature student, Mark Womersley, is unhappy abut using a ramp at the rear of the stage when he receives his media studies diploma at the University of East Anglia on Thursday. While other students make their way on to the stage in front of friends and family, Mr Womersley will have to wait behind a curtain at the back before he is presented with his hard-earned certificate. Mr. Womersley, 34, who was the only person in is class to achieve a First after five years of studies, said he believed he was being singled out because of his disability.
Evening News (Norwich), July 3, 2002.

Governors are at odds with their own head teacher in a row over the treatment of a disabled pupil. Some governors at Carlton Primary, Barnsley, wanted to discipline head teacher, Anthea Traves, over alleged 'inappropriate behaviour' towards Samantha Norton, ten, who has cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. Her parents, Darren and Louise, claim that Mrs Traves has been making unpleasant remarks about her slavering and fidgeting - caused by her disability - and has implemented a behaviour chart which only notes negative actions, such as shouting and crying. At a meeting with the head teacher and Mr. Norton, the governors agreed that Samantha's treatment was inappropriate and that she was subject to closer scrutiny than other children would normally be. But chairman of the governors, Roy Fellows, has been told by the education authority that he can not take further action against Mrs Traves. Mr and Mrs. Norton are now considering taking their concerns further by contacting the Secretary of State for Education.
Barnsley Chronicle, July 5, 2002.

Parents fighting to keep a Poole special school open were meeting with education chiefs today as part of a move to find 'common ground'. As part of a £5 million proposal to develop new and existing facilities in the Rossmore area it was planned to shut Winchelsea School and relocate pupils into centres in mainstream schools. Terry Finn, the council's project officer for the Rossmore scheme, said: 'We have listened to the parents and we have heard what they are saying and we have gone away and done some work to put together proposals which fit the criteria of the Department of Education and Skills'. He added that the parents and the LEA both wanted what was best for both the children at the special school and those in other local schools.
Daily Echo (Bournemouth), July 8, 2002.

A teacher at an Aberdeen special-needs school who was sacked after a pupil complained he had bent his arm up his back and broken it, has been awarded £32,507 compensation after winning his claim for unfair dismissal. Andrew Porter, 32, a learning support teacher at Oakbank School was sacked for gross misconduct after rescuing a colleague pinned down on the floor by a pupil.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, July 9, 2002.

A Southport mother fears there will not be adequate care for her disabled daughter when she goes to full time school in September. Charlotte Ogden, 5, has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or talk. She has been a part-time pupil at Birkdale Primary School for the past two years but now, as she moves on to full-time education, Charlotte faces the prospect of not having a carer with her all day. Although she has been offered a full-time place in the school, her mother, Tracey, is not prepared to accept it unless there is adequate care for her.
Southport Visitor, July 12, 2002.

Manchester education chiefs have decided they will close six schools for children with special needs, despite a six months battle by parents to keep them open. The council's executive committee gave the final go-ahead for closure, bringing to an end a debate that has split the council. Now Castlefield Primary School for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties will close in August 2003. That will be followed, subject to public consultation, by the closure of three primary schools for children with moderate learning difficulties -- Woodside, Gorton Brook and Richmond Park -- and two secondary schools for children with moderate learning difficulties -- Medlock Valley and Roundwood -- 12 months later. The city's young people's scrutiny committee will monitor schools during the closure programme.
Manchester Metro News, July 12, 2002.

An autistic schoolboy declared too bright to attend specialist schools has been left with nowhere to go after being expelled from a mainstream school in Grimsby. Haydn Hackfath's family had attempted for months to gain the eight-year-old the maximum amount of one-to-one care at South Parade Junior School. Last week came the news that North East Lincolnshire Council would provide 32 hours of one-on-one classroom assistant provision at the schools instead of the previous 27 hours. But just a day after the battle was won, Haydn was excluded from school, meaning he faces an uncertain future in an education system which is mother, Jayne, says does not cater for him.
Grimsby Telegraph, July 20, 2002.

Police officers will be based at four Westminster, London, schools to stop youngsters going off the rails. Government funding of £1.5 million will be poured into a behaviour improvement programme to tackle truancy, street crime and the number of youngsters excluded from school. Pimlico School, North Westminster Community School, St. George's, and St. Augustine's School will all get one of the new Behaviour and Education Support Teams (BEST) set up by Westminster Council. The teams aim to stop problem or 'at-risk' pupils from dropping out of the education system and will be staffed by learning mentors and education welfare officers in addition to the designated police officers.
Westminster and Pimlico News, July 25, 2002.

Children from Manchester schools played a crucial role in the spectacular opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games sending a clear message that the city was ready to host an event on this scale. According to education officials, beneath the pomp and grandeur of the ceremony was a lesson about the importance of inclusion in schools. For dozens of the children taking centre stage in the meticulously planned event at the City of Manchester Stadium had learning difficulties or physical difficulties. While the city's education chiefs prepare to embark on a programme to close a number of special schools, they point to the participation of youngsters in the stunning ceremony as proof that inclusion works in and out of the classroom. Youngsters in a special school faced the same audition process as youngsters in mainstream schools and than a gruelling timetable of rehearsals. Head teacher, Jenny Andrews, said: 'These games had such a focus on inclusion being the first games where disabled and able-bodied competed in the same arena. The organisers' expectations and our expectations were that the children would do what they were asked to do and that they would do it well. This is about recognising that everyone is able to contribute'.
Manchester Evening News, July 31,2002.

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Special schools across Lancashire could be facing the axe in the latest round of county council cuts. The end of the summer holidays will signal an announcement on the future of Lancashire's 32 special schools. A report prepared by the acting director of education and cultural services will include the future role of each of Lancashire's 32 special schools, including those where closure or substantial change is recommended. It will also look at how special needs youngsters could be included in mainstream schools and how the schools would have to adapt to accommodate the children.
Lancashire Evening Post (Preston), August 1, 2002.

Monday will see a huge step along an inclusive education route for North Tyneside children with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. The chairman of North Tyneside, Coun. John Carter, will cut the first turf to herald the start of building Silverdale at Mitford Gardens, Howdon -- the first purpose-built ESBD school in the North East. It is one of only a handful throughout the United Kingdom. Some of the children are in the care of the local authority and have returned to be educated in the borough from residential establishments outside North Tyneside. Coun. Diane Page, Cabinet member for education, said: 'The school is one element of a much broader provision aimed at meeting the needs of children with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. When complete it will form the centre of a "hub and spoke" model of provision. This means it will allow movement to and from Silverdale to mainstream primary and secondary schools and learning support units and provide access to a broad range of educational facilities'.
Wallsend News Guardian, August 8, 2002.

Lee Didino's parents hope new disability discrimination legislation will help their son get the extra support they feel he needs. Lee, who is dyslexic, gets ten hours a week extra help on an accelerated learning package at Lordswood Primary School, Bury, but the help is due to stop this year. His father Stephen welcomed an announcement by education minister, Margaret Hodge, that a Special Education Needs and Disability Tribunal will be set up in September to hear cases of discrimination. The Disability Discrimination Act will require schools, LEAs and post-16 providers not to treat disabled pupils or students less favourably, without justification, than pupils who are not disabled, and to make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled pupils are not put at a disadvantage.
Medway Messenger, August 3, 2002.

Coun. Alan Whittaker, the man in charge of Lancashire's education, has reassured parents that the overhaul of special schools in the area will not result in any pupils suffering. He said the aim of the review was to ensure that, wherever possible, children currently attending special schools could attend mainstream schools instead. To finance change money would be switched from one service to another. There was no question of trying to save money. Coun. Whittaker said it was likely that some special schools would amalgamate with each other, while some would join secondary schools.
Blackburn, Darwin and Hyndburn Citizen, August 15, 2002.

A mother whose autistic son was forced to quit his school because of bullying has been told she will have to teach him at home. Mrs Victoria Burgess says 12-year-old Jonathan has been sidelined by the system -- and fears his problems will get worse. Mrs. Burgess hoped Jonathan would be offered a place at Elms Bank High School ,Bury, and visited the school with Jonathan in June. But just before he was due to start a taster week there she was told there was no place for him. Mrs. Burgess said: 'Anyone who knows about autism knows that home tuition is no good for him. Children like Jonathan need to be taught social skills and to be with other children. An education spokesman said the local authority and the school staff were working with the family to resolve the difficulties.
Bury Times, August 30, 2002.

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The Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education is to hold an Inclusion Week from November 11 to 15. Schools, colleges and universities are invited to take part and arrange events to raise awareness of inclusion issues in education.
Disability Now, September 1, 2002.

Most people believe that disabled children should be educated in mainstream schools, a survey showed today. The NOP poll for the Disability Rights Commission came out as new legislation requiring schools to ensure disabled youngsters are not disadvantaged took effect for the new term. However, teachers warned that some schools are not prepared for the extension of the Disability Discrimination Act to cover their activities. Two thirds of British people thought disabled children should be taught in mainstream schools, NOP found. Half said teachers should be trained to understand disability and 70 per cent. thought perceptions can be changed through integration. DRC chairman, Bert Massie, said: 'It's heartening that the public believes disabled people should be given the same opportunities as others. Education is the key to changing attitudes and is fundamental to disabled people being included in the workplace and throughout society'. Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers said putting disabled children in normal classes was the right thing to do. However, schools needed the resources to be able to adapt their buildings and take on specialist staff, he stressed.
Shropshire Star, September 2, 2002.

Education bosses plan to axe all six of Devon's assessment classes for children with special needs from next April. Devon County Council says there is no further need for the classes as special needs pupils now mix in mainstream lessons. In their place the council is setting up new foundation support classes for three-to-six-year-olds to help spot children's needs at an early stage.
Express and Echo, Exeter, September 3, 2002.

An 11-year-old dyslexic boy is to mount a 'test case' challenge over discrimination against disabled pupils after being refused a place at one of the Government's city technology colleges. Lawyers for the unnamed boy lodged an application in the High Court yesterday for a judicial review of Bacons City Technology College's decision. They allege that it breaches both the 2001 Special Educational Needs and Disability Act and the Human Rights Act.
Financial Times, September 7, 2002.

For the first time in 20 years, inclusion looks like coming to a halt, according to an analysis in a leading education publication. Times Educational Supplement writer, Nicholas Pyke, reports that although the 1981 Education Act which started to move disabled children from special schools to mainstream has come of age, there is little to celebrate. He says the pressure to exclude is starting to match the pressure to include with the result that the number of children moving from the special to the mainstream sector is dwindling to almost nothing. Children with moderate learning and modest physical impairments are continuing to move out of special schools, but as they do so, their places are being taken by rising numbers of children with behavior problems, including autistic spectrum and attention deficit disorders. Fears have been expressed that inclusion could 'go into reverse'.
TES, September 6, 2002.

A new guide for head teachers and special education needs co-coordinators has been published by the Disability Rights Commission. Under new legislation disabled pupils now have wide-ranging rights within mainstream schools. The guide outlines head teachers' and SENCOs' responsibilities regarding the rights of disabled pupils under the Disability Discrimination Act which makes it unlawful for disabled pupils to be treated 'less favorably' when applying for a place and puts a duty on schools to make 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure that disabled pupils are not disadvantaged.
Liverpool Echo, September 12, 2002.

The inclusion of special needs children into mainstream schools moves forward next week when new facilities at four schools in the Eden Valley, Cumbria, are opened. John Nellist, Cumbria's director of education, will open strategic facilities at Appleby Primary, Beaconside CE Infants, North Lakes Junior School and Ullswater Community College in Penrith. This means that pupils with special educational needs can be taught in one of these four units in the Eden Valley instead of traveling to Carlisle or Kendal for their education. The schools are also working in partnership to support the inclusion of those pupils into local mainstream schools.
Cumberland News, September 13, 2002.

Parents of children attending a special needs unit in Tiverton, Devon, are mounting a campaign to save it from closure. They say the first they knew about the threat to the special needs assessment unit at Castle Primary School was when they read the school newsletter. Devon County Council plans to close the unit, along with five others, as part of an inclusion programme. Susan Seatherton, whose son Sam, five, is autistic, said she would not be happy for him to go to a mainstream school. 'He only started at the unit this term and we had no idea it was going to close. Just to put it in the newsletter without telling us is terrible. Sam needs to be watched almost 24 hours a day. In the unit I know he has close attention, there are locks and I know he is safe. In a mainstream school he would not have that.'
Crediton Gazette, September 17, 2002.

Education chiefs in Staffordshire have been told to make urgent changes to their 'unsatisfactory' inclusion policy for students with special educational needs. A report by education watchdogs Ofsted has found that the Staffordshire Local Education Authority has failed to improve their special educational needs policy to meet with new legislation. The LEA has now promised to bring a section of the county's schools in line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act by 2006/7, with a view to increasing accessibility to 100 per cent for disabled students in the future.
Lichfield Mercury, September 19, 2002.

Three schools for youngsters with special needs will stay open. Education chiefs have pledged Kersland and Mary Russell in Paisley and the Clippens School in Linwood will not close. The news was welcomed by worried parents who feared Renfrewshire Council could axe the award winning schools as part of an inclusion plan.
Paisley Daily Express, September 20, 2002.

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Every school and nursery in Inverclyde will have to build disabled access for children with special needs, the Scottish Executive announced today. Education Minister, Cathy Jamieson, pledged an extra £8 million to support education authorities throughout Scotland in developing plans. She said: 'We are committed to ensuring all children in Scotland can achieve their full potential. This investment will help schools and nurseries prepare for pupils with a range of disabilities'. The Minister said the Executive wanted schools and nurseries to take a long-term approach rather than simply adapting facilities whenever a disabled pupil starts to attend.
Greenock Telegraph, October 2, 2002.

An extra £8 million announced by the Scottish Executive to help make schools more accessible to disabled pupils will fall far short of the amount needed, according to local authorities. Estimates vary over how much will be needed to met the full requirements of new disability legislation which came into force last month. However, South Lanarkshire Council alone estimates it will need £27 million to make all its schools physically compliant with the new laws. One estimate from Glasgow City Council suggested it would cost more than £100 million to make all its schools fully compliant under the Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils' Educational Records) Ac t 2002.
The Herald (Glasgow), October 3, 2002.

Record numbers of people with disabilities brought discrimination claims against a range of businesses and public services last year including restaurants, airlines and nightclubs, a watchdog organisation has found. A report published yesterday by the Disability Rights Commission warns that the findings reveal just a small proportion of the discrimination to be found across Britain. In the past 12 months the number of discrimination cases supported by the commission rose by more than 50 per cent. and many of the cases succeeded in court. In one case a man was refused entry to a nightclub because of facial disfigurement and in another a pupil was banned from a school trip because of his diabetes.
The Independent, October 4, 2002.

The parents of an autistic Sheffield boy are taking legal action after being told to keep him at home while education chiefs investigate claims he suffered bruising at school. Amanda and Mark McGovern claim their seven-year-old son, Lee, is being denied an education - through no fault of his own. Lee's parents demanded an inquiry into out how he suffered the bruising and why they were not told about it. Now they have been ordered to keep their son away from Mossbrook School, Norton, while their allegation is investigated because his presence may 'threaten the integrity' of the investigation.
Sheffield Weekly Gazette, October 10, 2002.

The father of an autistic boy is being prosecuted after keeping the teenager out of school. Bob Baker and his wife Dorothy removed 16-year-old Nicky from Bradfields School, Chatham, Medway, in July last year because they say they were concerned about his progress and his safety. Mr Baker, who works as a lecturer at the Horsted campus of Mid-Kent College, was sent a letter from headteacher, Peter Harris, asking him not to go to the school. Mrs Baker used to be a governor there but felt she had to stand down. Mr. Baker has now received a summons to appear before Medway Magistrates on October 17. A spokesman for Medway Council said Nicky was still registered at Bradfields because there had been no formal request to remove him. Mr And Mrs Baker had been given every opportunity to resolve the issues surrounding Nicky's education.
Medway Today, October 9. 2002.

The National Autistic Society says one in five autistic children is excluded from school, 20 times the national average. However schools will have to think twice about excluding a child with recognised autism now that the Special Needs and Disability Discrimination Act is in force. The Society says schools will also need to ask whether a child's disruptive behaviour is being caused by an undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. Schools can argue that behaviour related to a medical condition can not be tolerated because of its disruptive effect on other children, but they will have to prove that they have exhausted all possible methods of supporting a child, such as providing one-to-one support.
Daily Telegraph, October 12, 2002.

More Rotherham children with severe learning needs are to be given the chance to be educated in mainstream schools over the next couple of years. Council cabinet members have agreed with the findings of a working party set up specifically to look at the educational provision for those with severe learning difficulties. As a result of an extensive review by the working party, Rotherham Borough Council is aiming to educate an increasing number of children in mainstream setting whenever possible, while altering the current remit and role of the Hilltop and Kelford special schools.
Dearne Valley Weekender, October 25, 2002.

Doing nothing is not an option for the future of special needs schools in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet was told that Alderman Knight in Tewkesbury and Cheltenham's Belmont and Bettridge schools and the Battledown Children's Centre cannot stay as they are. Coun. Charmain Sheppard, the cabinet member for education, said 'no change' could not be justified as it went against Council policy. 'Officers, teachers, governors and the schools recognize that the current pattern of provision is not meeting the needs of children' she said.
Gloucestershire Echo, October 23, 2002.

An exhibition of photographs of refugees and asylum seekers is to be held in Canterbury in November. Journeys and Dreams, by top photographer Carlos Reyes-Manzo, is at The Old Sessions House at Canterbury Christ Church University College from November 11 -17. The show is in support of Inclusion Week, part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. Organised by Professor Tony Booth, of the Centre for Educational Research at University College, there will also be lunch-time and evening receptions on November 12, at which Carlos Reyes-Manzo will talk on his photographs and an Oxfam representative will talk on the global perspective on teacher education.
Kentish Gazette, October 31, 2002.

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An education think tank has attacked the Government over its failure to take a tougher line with local education authorities that place a high number of disabled children in special schools. Mark Vaughan, founder of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, has called on the Government to take a 'firmer lead to force the higher segregating authorities to develop stronger inclusion policies' after research revealed wide policy variations between the regions. The Centre's report LEA Inclusion Trends 1997-2001, published last week to mark National Inclusion Week, 2002, shows that although the overall number of pupils in special schools fell from 88,000 to 86,000 between 1997 and 2001, there are huge variations around the country. Vaughan said it was 'unfair and unjust' that moves towards inclusion had been so slow and that a 'huge shift in culture' was needed to ensure that all children could be educated in mainstream schools.
Community Care, November 14, 2002.

Leading councilors have backed moves to ensure that most Shropshire youngsters with special educational needs are taught in mainstream schools. The County Council supported an updated special education policy. The move has to be approved by the full Council. A report said the revised policy reinforced Shropshire's commitment to an inclusive education policy. However, a specialist environment would still be required for a small number of children with exceptional needs.
Shropshire Star, November 6, 2002.

A network of parents and teachers is being established to investigate how best to educate children with disabilities in mainstream schools. The Inclusive Learning Network (ILN) is being set up by the Equity Group, a Scotland-wide voluntary organisation. The 15-months project begins in January, bringing together at least one parent and teacher from each of six local authorities to build up a bank of knowledge and practical solutions for Scottish schools.
The Scotsman, November 13, 2002.

A unique £2million education centre which encourages special school and mainstream pupils to study together was opened yesterday. The Briarfield Centre has been built on the same site as Whitefield Fishponds Community School. It will give disabled pupils with severe learning difficulties from Briarwood Special School the chance to continue their studies. But they will also enjoy the wider range of opportunities from mainstream lessons. Funding for the new Centre came from the Department for Education and Skills. Bristol Council provided an extra £110,000 for a multi-sensory room and hydrotherapy pool which can be used by pupils and public.
Western Daily Press (Bristol), November 16, 2002.

A disability charity has condemned Alnwick's high school for denying a 12-year-old boy a place at the school. Scope has championed the plight of Craig McCarthy, who has cerebral palsy, and has been denied a place at the Duchess's High School because of lack of wheelchair access. Caroline Cooke, a policy and research officer at Scope, said: 'We would want to ask the school whether they are aware of the duties which make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled pupils in admissions as well as in the provision of education. Scope believes that Craig should be able to attend his local secondary school in Alnwick alongside his friends who will be going there. The Disabilities Act 2002 came into force in September and sets a duty on schools and local education authorities to plan to increase access. The charity says this is an anticipatory duty which means that schools should not wait until they need to make specific changes to meet the needs of an individual child.
Northumberland Gazette, November 21, 2002.

Scotland's disabled rights watchdog launched a massive brainstorming session at Stirling University to combat discrimination. The conference, called Beyond The Ramp: Developing Accessibility Strategies in Scotland, is organised by the Disability Rights Commission. It has attracted parents, headteachers and representatives from every local authority in Scotland. DRC Scotland director, Bob Benson, said: 'These conferences are aimed at ensuring that thinking about disability access goes beyond the provision of ramps. 'The fact that every single local authority in Scotland has signed up to one of these events shows that there is a real commitment to improving educational opportunities for disabled people and signals a real climate of change'.
Stirling Observer, November 27, 2002.

Staff at a Burton special school are 'horrified' at new council plans to put pupils with learning difficulties into mainstream schools. Staffordshire County Council education bosses claim the move would reduce discrimination and improve education standards. However, staff at Streton Brook School believe the policy could ruin some youngsters' education and jeopardise the future of the school. The county's Local Education Authority (LEA) has put forward proposals after a Government inspection slammed it for failing to provide an 'inclusive' education system.
Burton Mail, November 29, 2002.

Campaigners fighting to save special schools in Gloucestershire have launched a campaign to safeguard others across the country. The Gloucestershire Special Schools Protection League wants the Government to set up a national organisation to protect similar schools elsewhere. It wants to add weight and a national voice to the campaign, set up in 1998, to save five special schools which Gloucestershire County Council planned to close by 2003, before doing a near U-turn. The GSSP is compiling a list of individuals and organisations concerned about the future of schools for children with learning difficulties, behavioural and emotional problems throughout the UK. It will then present the list to Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, in the hope it will spark the Government into setting up a forum to counterbalance the views of organisations like the Centre For Studies on Inclusive Education which believes special school pupils should be integrated into mainstream education.
Gloucestershire Echo, November 30, 2002.

The Government's inclusion agenda for children with special needs has been called into question by the Audit Commission which found that mainstream schools lacked the resources to support them. One in five children is considered by their schools to have disabilities or conditions that mean they need special attention. But the Commission found provision for them was patchy and too often treated as an 'add-on'. It also reported that some schools were reluctant to admit children experiencing difficulties. Sir Andrew Foster, the commission's controller, said some schools were reluctant to admit children who were unlikely to pass exams because of the way the Government calculates its performance tables. A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said it was looking at the format of its performance tables and considering 'ways of recognising the wider achievements of schools in catering for a diverse range of pupils'.
Daily Telegraph, November 30, 2002.

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The head teacher and a governor of a leading city special school have joined forces with a local MP to question Government plans for special educational needs inclusion in mainstream schools. A report by Ofsted earlier this year said the Staffordshire local education authority (LEA) had not made suitable provision for the inclusion of special needs (SEN) pupils. The LEA's vision outlined in the report, stated: 'Staffordshire will be an inclusive learning county, a community where we seek to remove barriers, provide opportunities and ensure an inclusive education is provided for all individuals and groups'. The LEA is currently spending £3.7 million on adapting 20 'pathway' high schools to be physically more accessible, with work at an undisclosed cost to take place over the next few years at 56 'feeder' primary schools. However, as yet, mainstream schools identified for change in the Litchfield area have not heard from the LEA about when changes will be taking place.
Lichfield Mercury, December 5, 2002.

A Perth councilor has praised the authority's work on improving education for disabled pupils. Margo Lennie, convener of the education and children's services committee, was speaking at the meeting of the strategic and policy resources committee. In March the Scottish Parliament passed legislation requiring local authorities to take the necessary steps to improve access to education for pupils with disabilities. The aim was to enable them to enjoy equal opportunities in education and ensure they were not unfairly discriminated against. The education and children's services committee established a working party to examine a wide range of solutions. Coun. Lennie said: 'I applaud the hard work being done to develop the Council's policy of inclusion in education for children with disabilities. I have seen how children have benefited from being educated with their peers. The Council now has to look further at the measures needed and their financial implications so that we can fully meet the needs of children with disabilities within mainstream education.'
Perthshire Advertiser, December 10, 2002.

Many young disabled people still struggle to get the same opportunities as non-disabled youngsters in our education system. That is according to a new Disability Rights Commission (DRC) survey of 16-24-year-olds, which shows many were discouraged from taking GCSEs and from going into further or higher education. Some complained of missing out on school trips or activities because of their disability. And others complained of bullying because of their disability, including by teachers. The survey, part of the DRC's Educating for Equality Campaign, found that:
* One quarter of disabled children claimed they were discriminated against at school.
* One fifth said they had been discouraged from taking GCSEs.
* 34% felt they did not get the help or support they needed from teachers and staff.
* 38% said they had been bullied, with one in 20 saying they'd been bullied by teachers.
* 41% said they felt isolated or left out at school.
* 49% said they missed out on games or PE. Of these, nearly half said the school could have made better adjustments to cater for their disability'.
Citizen (Gloucester). December 9, 2002.

Children with learning difficulties placed in mainstream schools are threatening to take their lives rather than go through the gates in the morning, say parents. Others lock themselves in their bedrooms or are running away to avoid the hurly burly of comprehensive schools. In a devastating attack on the way the Government's inclusion policy is being implemented, parents say their children deserve extra opportunities, not equal opportunities. Today they are launching a new organisation to co-ordinate the myriad of campaigns countrywide against the closure of special schools by local authorities, which say they are carrying out the Government's wishes. The Special School Protection League has been formed by Graham Barton, whose 16-year-old daughter has just left a special school in Stroud, Glos, which closed at the end of the year. He said: 'A huge wealth of expertise in the schools is being thrown on the scrapheap and parents won't have any choice over how their children are educated because the special school option will remain only for the most severe cases.'
Daily Telegraph, December 12, 2002.

Pupils across the area have been celebrating their results in the new Government figures. The children at New Scotland Hill Primary School in Little Sandhurst excelled with every pupil reaching the required standard in English and science and 95% in maths. Headteacher, Linda Northover, said: 'We've got some very good teachers who work hard with all staff to get every single pupil motivated. And we don't just concentrate solely on the curriculum. We encourage them to enjoy learning, to strive forward and not to be afraid to make mistakes. This shows them they can attempt things they may not have thought of rather than playing safe, and that's why I think we do so well'. One in four of the youngsters who sat tests at the Grampian Road School are classed as special needs.
Bracknell News, December 12, 2002.

A headteachers' leader is demanding a detailed investigation into the admissions procedure for special schools in Oxfordshire. Cynthia Bartlett, chair of Oxfordshire Secondary Schools Head Teachers Association, spoke out after parents and governors claimed county education officers were 'blocking' places for pupils at special schools. The claim came at Tuesday's county council executive board where councilors agreed to consult on the possibility of closing Iffley Mead School in Oxford and Woodeaton Manor School where pupils have moderate learning difficulties. They also agreed to set up an independent panel to examine the admissions procedure which will present its findings in March. This week in Stroud, Gloucestershire, the Special School Protection League was formed to co-ordinate a large number of campaigns countrywide against the closure of special schools by local authorities. At Tuesday's meeting in Oxford, Mrs. Bartlett urged county councilors not to switch £228,000 of funding away from the two schools to mainstream schools by cutting the number of places for special needs pupils and they agreed not to do so.
Oxford Times, December 13, 2002.

Teacher union leaders are urging the Government to issue fresh guidance to education authorities over the proposed closure of about 100 special schools. They support parents who have launched a national campaign to keep the schools as an option for children who can not cope In the mainstream. 'We are adamantly against the closure of schools which have the expertise, skill and facilities to give a high level of support to some of our most vulnerable pupils', said Mike Brooks, former president of the National Association of Head Teachers. Parents of pupils with learning difficulties are campaigning all over the country to save schools under threat because of the Government-led policy of inclusion for all but those with the most serious disabilities. The Department for Education has said it wants special schools to be retained to provide parental choice and as centres of excellence which can support teachers and pupils in other local schools. But Gloucestershire County Council has proposed the closure of six special schools saying it needs to use the money to support children with emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties who will be moved into mainstream primaries and comprehensives.
Daily Telegraph, December 14, 2002.

Almost 80 years ago a group of Portsmouth's most influential men sat around a table and drew up plans for a special needs school. The deeds or Futcher School in Drayton stated that the site must be used to provide free education to children with physical disabilities. But now that the special school could be forced to close its doors, parents have called for the original documents to be honoured in an eleventh-hour attempt to save the school from the axe. The site in Drayton Lane was originally the home of Portsmouth banker, Thomas Futcher, who gave the land to a group of friends. They formed an ad hoc committee and handed the land to the local education authority. The deeds state that if it ceases to be a special needs school, ownership of the land has to be handed back to the committee. But with the committee all believed to be dead, the Charity Commission would step in to decide on ownership of the land if the school was to close its doors to pupils.
The News (Portsmouth), December 18, 2002.

A truancy crackdown in Brentwood has revealed the majority of children bunking off lessons are primary school pupils out with their parents. Around 50 young people were stopped by police and education welfare officers in a sweep on Brentwood town centre, Shenfield, Ingatestone, Pilgrims Hatch and Warley. When asked why they were not in school, the list of excuses included visiting grandparents and helping with Christmas shopping. Some parents claimed their children were too ill to attend classes and others refused to give any explanation. Last week Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, announced plans to give head teachers the power to impose on-the-spot fines on parents whose children are persistently absent from school.
Brentwood Gazette and Mid Essex Recorder, December 19, 2002.

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