Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

news from 2003

End of year review

Government and LEA trends

During 2003, mixed Government messages about segregated special schools were reflected in reports of varied practice around the country regarding future developments in the special sector. While plans went ahead for special school closures in some areas, in others there were also proposals to locate special schools on mainstream sites, and even to expand the capacity of some special schools and make major investments in re-buildings works. Kirklees Council, for example, plans to spend £25 million pounds on four new special schools. Baroness Ashton, the Minister over seeing special school developments, made various statements about the special sector which stressed that the Government's agenda was not to close special schools and that they had an important role in the development of inclusion. She stressed that an 'inclusive experience' was not dependent on whether a pupil attended a mainstream or a special school. Protests by disabled people and their allies that many disabled people who have been through special schools were against their continued existence appeared to have little impact.

However, Ministers ruled out imposing a moratorium on special school closures. Junior Education Minister Stephen Twigg said it was up to local communities to make closure decisions, provided there was full local consultation. Replying to claims that LEAs were dealing with budget problems by closing special schools, Mr Twigg said that any closures of special schools must be based on educational evidence and good practice. In 2002 the number of special schools decreased to 1,161 from 1,352 in 1992, despite a steep increase in children defined as having special needs from 160,759 in 1992 to 248,892 in 2002.

In Gloucestershire, where there has been continued controversy over special school closure plans, an independent adjudicator backed the local Council's actions. Hilary Nicolle from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator was reported as saying there was a legal obligation on the Council to close special schools and divert money to mainstream classes in order to comply with the Government's inclusion policy.

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Mainstream developments

New disability discrimination provisions in education began to have an impact during the year and there were a number of successful legal cases against schools who failed to meet requirements. Notable developments included the Governors of Jenny Hammond Primary School in Leytonstone, East London, being ordered to apologise to six-year-old Lee Buniak. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal heard that Lee, who has learning difficulties, was excluded from a number of school activities including the school Christmas play, the Christmas disco, and a class trip. He was also left out of the school photo. In another case 17-year-old Anthony Ford-Shubrook was able to start St Dominic's Sixth Form College as planned after a court injunction forced the college to accept him. The college claimed that the stair-climbing wheelchair Anthony proposed to use to access part of the building was a safety hazard and he could not be admitted. However, the successful injunction meant that Anthony did not have to miss his education pending a full hearing of the case, which was later settled out of court.

Elsewhere, mainstream schools continued to break down barriers to inclusion by developing technological aids and curriculum adaptations and by improving physical access. There were also efforts to provide mentors to inspire disabled pupils and more schools took up sign language. At Summerside Community Primary School, in London, for example, deaf and hearing classmates take the British sign language qualification together.

However, the general trend towards inclusion was described as painfully slow. A new analysis by the Times Educational Supplement of statistics from the Centre For Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE) showed that at current rates it will take the highest segregating education authorities over 100 years to reach inclusion levels already achieved by the London Borough of Newham which is considered a trailblazer in bringing special needs pupils into mainstream.

Claims mounted that competition in the Standard Attainment Test league tables, discouraged some schools from including pupils facing learning difficulties. And the National Union of Teachers called on parents and teachers to back their campaign against SATs saying that they ran counter to inclusive education. At the same time pupils with difficulties continued to be applauded for their achievements in the examinations and at Birley Spa Primary School in Sheffield a strategy of total inclusion was reported to have led to a dramatic improvement in SATs results for all pupils.

Chris Powell, 16, from Plymouth, was one of those to achieve top grades. Chris, who has muscular dystrophy, scored nine 'A' to 'C' grades and is going on to study for 'A' levels. The college principle, Steve Baker, said: 'As a special needs student, many people in the past would have been quick to write off Chris. He and his family should be very proud of this remarkable achievement. It is a testament to a Government, a local education authority, a school and a family, which believe in inclusive education'.

Following the trend for improving both physical and curricular access in education Edinburgh University made changes to its admission procedures to give priority to state educated pupils and mature and disabled students. The chief executive of SKILL, Barbara Waters, denied there was any lowering of standards. She said the move was about identifying students who had the potential to succeed. Meanwhile, Hero Joy Nightingale won a place at Oxford to study fine art. Hero, who communicates with hand movements, will have assistants to paint and sculpt on her behalf. And a deaf student, Anastasia Fedotova, who was turned down at Oxford despite having six 'A's at 'A' level, was offered a place at Cambridge.

During the year the the Down's Syndrome Association published an Education Support Pack for schools. According to one of the consultants, Dr. Stephanie Lorenz: 'There is absolutely no reason, with commitment, support and time, why children with Down's Syndrome can not take part in 99.9 per cent. of what is going on in a mainstream school.' Anya Souza, one of two trustees of the association who have Down's Syndrome, expressed grave reservations at proposals from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence that all pregnant woman should be offered NHS tests to detect the syndrome. According to Anya, terminating a pregnancy because of Down's implied that people with the syndrome were worthless 'and believe me, we're not'.

Also on a strong note more than 100 people from different parts of the country posed tough questions about rights to Maria Eagle, Minister for Disabled People, and Bert Massie, Disability Rights Commission Chairman at the first Disabled People's Parliament (UKDPP) in Birmingham. The Parliament also discussed a new law, the Disabled People's Rights and Freedoms Bill, proposed by the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People.

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Legislative moves

A new Disability Discrimination Bill was published in draft form during 2003 covering changes to the public sector, transport and premises, as well as widening the definition of disability. According to the Government, the Bill will significantly advance the rights and opportunities of disabled people.

Meanwhile one of the main architects of legislation which set the scene for greater inclusion 25 years ago called for a complete overhaul of the way schools provide for special educational needs including the assessment and statementing process. Baroness Warnock identified statementing as the biggest fault in the system, saying it had become a battle for resources and ceased to be about children's needs. She said it had been disastrous and was a major obstacle to good provision.

In Scotland, plans were announced to scrap their version of the statementing process, known as the Record of Needs. A strengthened, streamlined intervention process and flexible planning for children was set to take its place. However, a parent's lobby, RONA (Record of Needs Alert) expressed concerns that children would lose rights to specialist provision and that parents had not been consulted properly.

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Family struggles and successes

Despite the stronger focus on combating discrimination through legislation reported earlier, many families continued to struggle to make everyday living less difficult. Parents in Skipton blamed a mainstream school for expelling a boy with autism, saying he should have been 'statemented' so he could get one-to-one teaching, and in another row in London parents kept their autistic seven-year-old at home because he received only two hours support from a teaching assistant. The family said he would be better off in a special school. In another case a pupil was forced to miss swimming lessons because of a dispute about who was responsible for paying the £150 cost of prescription goggles.

Parent-led campaigns against special school closures continued. According to one estimate, around half the claims to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal are asking for a place at a special school of some kind. And only 42 secondary schools in England and Wales are capable of taking on large numbers of pupils with special needs and maintaining strong academic results at the same time.

The struggles of deaf children to cope in a hearing world were highlighted by the British Deaf Association in Wales. It said wasting years teaching children how to speak rather than teaching them sign language resulted in pupils feeling like failures and led to high levels of mental health problems. The BDA in Wales proposed residential schools for the deaf so that children could develop a more secure culture and identity. There were no schools for the deaf in Wales anymore, only units in schools.

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Comments and criticisms

During the year heated correspondence was reported between the Disability Rights Commission and the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT). The DRC reacted strongly to a Press Release issued by the NASUWT saying it was staging a discriminatory campaign to keep pupils with special educational needs out of mainstream schools. The NASUWT Press Release stated that 'the policy of inclusion of all pupils into mainstream schools, particularly those with emotional and behavioural difficulties, is proving to be a disaster for both these pupils and their teachers.'

Funding difficulties faced by charities supporting inclusion were highlighted by the director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Micheline Mason. Ms Mason said that as inclusive education was now Government policy it might be expected that the small number of national voluntary organizations working full-time for inclusive education would be fully supported. However this was not the case and millions of pounds was still being poured into segregated special schooling.

Meanwhile Andrew Sutton, director of the Foundation for Conductive Education, called for an end to the whole inclusion/segregation debate. He said both concepts had passed their sell-by dates and the sterile debate about the merits of the different approaches did not serve families well. Mr. Sutton said it was time for new thinking.

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The number of children with autism in Inverclyde has quadrupled since 1998. Education officials predict there will not be enough places at Inverclyde's schools next year to provide support for youngsters with the condition. They say drastic action, which would cost the council around £166,000 a year, is needed to develop the service to cope with demand . There are currently 48 children going to schools in Inverclyde who are diagnosed with autism or Asperger's syndrome. In March 1998, just 11 pupils had been diagnosed with these conditions which have also become more common nationally.
Greenock Telegraph , January 4, 2003.

In cutting-edge schools such as those in the South East England Virtual Education Action Zone (www.-seeveaz.intranets.com), the advantages of ICT jump out at you. Teachers use laptops and wireless networking with interactive virtual whiteboards so that special needs pupils can go back to a lesson's board at any time afterwards and run over the work as many times as necessary with their support assistants or special needs teachers. Lessons tailored to specific types of child need can also be easily swapped and shared between teachers.
The Guardian (Education), January 7, 2003.

Education authorities face a growing revolt over attempts to teach vulnerable children in mainstream schools. The Special School Protection League started locally but is tapping into a national concern. When parents complain to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal about their child's education around half are asking for a place at a special school of some kind. Professor Brahm Norwich, from Exeter University , an authority on special educational needs, believes it is unrealistic to aim for the abolition of the special sector , despite a vigorous campaign from disability action groups for just that. With Ingrid Lunt of London University's Institute of Education, he conducted a study that suggested only 42 secondary schools in England and Wales were capable of taking on large numbers of special needs pupils and maintaining strong academic results at the same time. Until now parents whose children attend special schools have lacked a strong voice. The Special School Protection League hopes to change that.
Sunday Times (News Review), January 5, 2003.

In its first annual report, 'Making Things Happen Better', the Learning Disability Task Force has urged the health service to make sure that the remaining learning disability hospitals in England are closed . There are 21 hospitals remaining, accommodating some 1,000 people. A target of April 2004 has been set for the final closures but there is concern that half will still be open by the deadline.
The Guardian (Society) January 15, 2003.

Head teachers have strongly criticised shock plans to cut the number of special schools in Waltham Forest by a third . The closures will save around £2.5 million for Waltham Forest Council which is struggling with an overspent budget. Hawkswood, Brookfield House, and Joseph Clarke schools are all under threat of closure. The head teachers say they believe that moving special needs children into mainstream schools will not help them integrate into society .
Leytonsone Guardian , January 16, 2003.

The deaf state school student who was turned down by Oxford despite having been awarded six As at A level has won a place at Cambridge . Anastasia Fedotova , whose rejection from a mathematics course at Brasenose College renewed controversy over the university's admissions policies, has been accepted by Trinity College. It has a reputation for choosing many of the finest mathematical brains.
The Times , January 17, 2003.

A charity is urging Bolton schools to be more aware of the needs of disabled people. The John Groom Organisation has developed a hard-hitting teacher's guide, 'Just Like Us'which will be distributed to every school in the North-west. The pack and website contain a selection of lesson plans and classroom resources that encourage youngsters to question their definitions of disability and honestly appraise their attitudes towards disabled people. The executive director of John Groom, the Rev. Michael Shaw, said: 'The biggest disabling aspect of many disabled peoples' lives is other peoples' attitudes from adult preconceptions about disability to playground taunts'.
Bolton Evening News, January 21, 2003.

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Campaigner Sue Bennetto is urging parents to attend the first meeting of the Special Schools Protection League . A vigorous crusade to safeguard the future education of special needs pupils has been launched in a bid to stop children in Wigan becoming 'a lost generation'. The group which is made up of parents across the borough is determined to fight Wigan education bosses and make their voices heard - they do not want their children back in mainstream school.
Wigan Observer, February 4, 2003.

A special unit for primary school children with autism will move from Rainham, to Hoo St Werburgh. Marlborough Special unit is currently based in Maidstone Road, Rainham and attached to Byron Primary School in Gillingham - almost two and a half miles away. By moving the unit to the site at Hoo St Werburgh Primary School it is hoped pupils will be able to benefit from joining in with mainstream school activities . In a report to Medway Council's Cabinet, planning and review manager, John Farry, said: 'The Medway inclusive education strategy states that pupils at special units should have good opportunities for integration into the mainstream school. The ideal situation is for the unit to be fully integrated into the premises of its parent school.'
Medway Standard , February 4, 2003.

Northumberland County Council has come under fire from the Ombudsman for letting down a little girl. The council has forked out £1,000 in compensation to the girl's parents to be used for her education and changed its procedures following the mistake. The girl, now aged 12, and from the Morpeth area, was sent to a special school in September 2000. But her Mum complained the council failed for two years to provide vital speech therapy which would have allowed her daughter to attend a mainstream school.
Northumberland Herald and Post, February 5, 2003.

A special school in Tonbridge is likely to be expanded to cater for more children with serious and complex needs as part of a countywide initiative to meet growing demand. The Ridge View School, Cage Green Road, specializes in helping children with learning difficulties and could take up to 45 extra pupils from throughout the borough following Kent County Council proposals. A review of the county's provision for special education concluded that there were not enough places in special schools for four main groups of children who have autism, behavioural difficulties, severe emotional needs and complex medical conditions. Ridge View is one of 12 schools that may be expanded .
Tonbridge Courier, February 7, 2003.

A draft bill in Parliament to give disabled people new rights has been welcomed by Burnley MP, Mr. Peter Pike. The draft Disability Bill covers changes to the public sector, transport and premises as well as widening the definition of disability. The Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, Mr. Andrew Smith, said: 'This draft bill will significantly advance the rights and opportunities of disabled people . Publishing a draft bill enables full examination of its provisions before its Parliamentary passage begins'.
Burnley Express , February 7, 2003.

Thousands of children with learning difficulties will lose legal rights to special education if a new government bill is passed, parents and autism campaigners have warned. A group has been set up to oppose Scottish Executive plans to scrap the Record of Needs system , which gives local authorities a legal responsibility to provide schooling for pupils with special educational needs. The group Record of Needs Alert (RONA)claims the executive has not consulted parents properly before pushing the changes through. However, an executive spokesman said the replacement of the Record of Needs with a strengthened, streamlined intervention process, with a new flexible co-coordinated plan for children follows extensive consultation.
Sunday Herald (Glasgow), February 16, 2003.

Edinburgh University has spelt out plans to discriminate in favour of state school pupils . The university's court, its highest decision making body, listed the situations in which state educated pupils will be given priority in admissions. Mature and disabled students will also have a head start , as will those who come from Scotland, particularly from Edinburgh. Timothy O' Shea, the University's Principal, said: 'If you know someone with brilliant potential, who is unlikely to apply to the University of Edinburgh please encourage them'.
The Times, February 19, 2003.

Skill, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, has welcomed the news that the University of Edinburgh is to make changes to its admissions systems to take account of the circumstances of disabled students. In a letter to the Editor, the chief executive of Skill, Barbara Waters , said the issue had nothing to do with lowering standards or making admission processes arbitrary and unfair. It was simply about identifying students who have the potential to succeed .
The Independent , February 21, 2003.

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ne of Britain's leading education authorities is facing an official complaint from a parent with a child who has Down Syndrome after a head teacher refused a school place to the child because his needs 'were too complex'. Barbara Fenner, the mother of Simon, eight, said she had been left angry and depressed at the treatment her son had received. The family have now had to move their home in Woking, Surrey, so that their son can attend another mainstream school. This week the Down's Syndrome Association will publish a major investigation into the treatment of children with disabilities. The report will say that schools are often discriminating against Down's children because they are concerned they will negatively affect exam results. They will also publish a code of best practice supported by the Government, which will demand that schools make 'every effort' to include Down's Syndrome children.
Observer, March 2, 2003.

The parents of an autistic child who sued their local council for refusing to fund a pioneering treatment to help his condition have won a landmark case at Scotland's highest civil court. Christine and Malcolm Mahony fought a six-month campaign against West Lothian Council which culminated in a judicial review at the Court of Session. Only twice before in Scotland had legal aid been granted to a child to fight such an action. The legal challenge centred on their son, Lewis, six, who was undergoing a world-renowned therapy known as ABA - applied behaviour analysis developed by Professor Ivar Lovaas - which was funded by the local authority for almost two years. In August 2002, the family were told that the Council was no longer prepared to finance the £20,000 a year programme. Mrs. Mahony, a former teacher who spent almost £15,000 on her son's education following the Council's decision, will be reimbursed since the court ruled in her favour. Although ABA is expensive, the Mahonys claim that the alternatives, such as a residential course, would have cost the Council £100,000.
The Scotsman, March 3, 2003.

The Down's Syndrome Association is publishing an Education Support Pack for Schools to ease the path of inclusion for children with Down's. 'There is absolutely no reason with commitment, support and time, why children with Down's Syndrome can not take part in 99.9 per cent of what's going on in a mainstream school,' says Dr Stephanie Lorenz, an educational psychologist and inclusion consultant. The DSA's Education Support Pack can be downloaded from the Down's Syndrome Association website, www.downs-syndrome.org.uk.
The Guardian Education, March 4, 2003.

A six-year-old boy with severe eczema is taking a school to a tribunal after it refused to allow him to wear pure cotton trousers. Louie Valencia, from Brent, in North London, was told by the headmistress of St Eugene de Mazenod School that he must wear regulation flannels, even though the woolen material inflamed eczema on his legs so that he could hardly walk. The boy and his mother, Gabriella, are using new disability discrimination laws to take the school to a tribunal. Although Louie has moved to a neighbouring school which allowed him to wear cotton trousers, he is seeking an apology for distress and disruption caused by the affair and having to change schools. A spokesman for the school's governing body said it would contest the claim. The school learnt of the boy's eczema only at a photography session, he said.
The Times, March 7, 2003.

Lancashire schools will receive more than £2m to improve their disabled access. The Government has allocated £2,138,000 to Lancashire County Council to distribute to schools this year (2003/2004) as part of a national initiative to improve access for disabled pupils to mainstream schools. The Disability Discrimination Act requires every local education authority to establish an Accessibility Strategy and all schools must prepare an Accessibility Plan by April 1 of this year. The resources allocated this year will be used to complete the most urgently needed work identified in the accessibility plans.
Ormskirk Advertiser, March 13, 2003.

Special schools threatened with closure may be reprieved following a strong statement of support from the Government. Many of the proposed closures which are being fought by parents throughout the country are due to a misunderstanding of the Government's inclusion agenda, said Lady Ashton, the education minister responsible for special needs. 'I am very worried that somehow people believe the Government's agenda is to close special schools when it absolutely isn't,' she said. Lady Ashton was speaking in advance of today's publication of the report of the working party she set up to advise the Government on the future of schools which cater exclusively for children with special needs. The number of special schools has gone down from 1,352 in 1992 to 1,161 last year, despite a steep increase in children defined as having special needs from 160,759 in 1992 to 248, 892 last year.
Daily Telegraph, March 13, 2003.

A moratorium on special school closures has been ruled out by the Government despite Tory protests. Junior education minister, Stephen Twigg, said local communities should make the decisions provided there was full local consultation. He was responding at Commons question time to Tory spokeswoman, Eleanor Laing, who said many local education authorities were dealing with budget problems by closing special schools. 'Will you undertake to impose a moratorium on the closure of special schools, pending an investigation into this cruel policy?' Mr Twigg said many authorities were looking at the nature of their provision for children with special needs. Any closures of special schools must be rooted in educational evidence and educational good practice. There was no evidence that closures were driven by a desire to save money.
Birmingham Post, March 14, 2003.

Groups representing disabled people have accused the Government of breaking a promise to improve the chances of children with special needs going to mainstream schools. Ministers have approved legislation allowing parents to appeal to special tribunals if their children are denied places on the grounds of disability. But in a foreword to a new report from the Government, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, an education minister, states: 'The special school sector enjoys the Government's full support. Inclusion is not an agenda to close special schools. I want special schools to be centres of expertise working with mainstream schools and the wider community to support pupils with special educational needs.' Five organizations representing disabled people claim that the Government's new emphasis will lead to thousands of pupil being denied a place at a mainstream school. According to the group, which includes the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, many disabled children who have been through special schools are opposed to their continued existence.
The Independent, March 17, 2003.

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Mark Rogers, head of SEN, Educational and Cultural Services in Tameside, has denied a newspaper report that the Council has decided to shut Hawthorns and Samuel Laycock special schools and place pupils in mainstream classes. In a letter to the Tameside Reporter he says that the Council wants to see special and mainstream schools coming together, providing opportunities for children with special needs to mix and learn with their mainstream peers. It plans to invest significant amounts of money in improving education for children with moderate learning difficulties.
Tameside Reporter, April 3, 2003.

Many of the pupils at Barnet's largest special school could miss out on vital one-to-one and small group tuition because of funding cuts. Headteacher Lynda Walker has warned parents of declining standards at Oak Lodge School in Heath View, East Finchley, London, where she anticipates an £80,000 financial deficit. She said the school was unable to budget for adequate supply cover for staff shortages. Groups might have to be amalgamated and 'childminded rather than educated'.
Hendon and Finchley Times, April 3, 2003.

The only specialist school on Merseyside dedicated to helping deaf pupils speak has lost its battle for survival. Directors at Birkdale School for the Hearing Impaired announced it is to close in July after the failure of a four-month campaign to solve its funding crisis. The school is being forced to close because of declining pupil numbers blamed on a Government policy of pushing more children with special needs into mainstream schools. It is the only school in the North West to teach pupils to speak rather than to use sign. A parents' spokeswoman said that many fought to get their children into Birkdale and now they were going to have to return to mainstream where they were 'marginalised, bullied and excluded'.
Daily Post (Liverpool), April 12, 2003.

Two new schools for children and young adults with special learning needs are once again being considered for Nuneaton. The Griff and Leyland special schools are set close in August with pupils moving to new premises on the site of the former North Wing of George Eliot school. Parents and carers who were consulted said they would prefer a single school for the children but the Government's Baroness Ashton, the Minister responsible for special needs education, has taken a 'personal interest' and made clear that Government funding will only be available for the two schools proposal.
Heartland Evening News, (Nuneaton), April 15, 2003.

The best interests of pupils may be endangered by the Government's targets to include special needs children in mainstream schools, according to a teachers' leader. Delegates at the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers conference in Bournemouth unanimously passed a motion criticising the Government's insistence that many pupils with learning disabilities and behaviour problems must attend mainstream schools. Eamonn O'Kane, general secretary of the union, which is Britain's second largest said: 'The education of children with special educational needs must take into account the best interests of all pupils. The Government's insistence on targets for inclusion of SEN pupils means some students with learning needs may not be in the right environment. A mainstream schooling may not give them the opportunities they deserve and may also be to the detriment of other pupils.' Mr. O'Kane added that the 'rush to close special schools was ill-judged'.
Birmingham Post, April 23, 2003.

Severely dyslexic children could be left without specialist education after their school announced it is closing in September. Anxious parents of pupils at the Willoughby Hall Dyslexia Centre in Hampstead, London, say they are now struggling to find a suitable replacement after being given only one term's warning by teachers. They fear they will be forced to put their children into schools that will not be able to cater for their special needs.
Wood and Vale, April 25, 2003.

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Andrew Sutton, director of the Foundation for Conductive Education, says disabled children and their families are ill-served by the present sterile debate about inclusion and segregated schooling. According to Mr. Sutton, it is time to move on and look for a synthesis of the best that both can offer, plus something new and more. He says potential for substantial change does exist but will not flourish until it is freed from the shackles of old thinking. Inclusion and special schooling have both passed their sell-by dates, he says.
Daily Telegraph (Weekend), May 3, 2003.

Millions of pounds are being ploughed into education for pupils with special needs. A £3.75 million grant from the Department of Education and Skills has been given to the Broadwater Farm Inclusion Project in Haringey, London. According to the Council's education service, the successful bid for cash will allow pupils of all abilities and backgrounds throughout the borough to benefit from a more inclusive education.
Haringey Advertiser, May 14, 2003.

Henrietta Spink and her husband Michael are about to embark on the final leg of their campaign to ensure that children with special educational needs in their area - and perhaps nationally - get the support they need. Along with 25 other families the Spinks are this month instigating a judicial review of Wandsworth Council's alleged failure to provide the services specified for their sons Henry and Freddie in their statements of special educational need - the documents which set out the amount and type of support children are entitled to receive. It is the first time so many families have collectively challenged a council over special needs provision. Campaigners hope the move will act as a wake-up call to other authorities which, they claim, play fast and loose with the statementing system to save money. The Spinks hope that dragging their council to court will trigger a public inquiry into the approach taken by local councils to special needs provision.
The Guardian (Society), May 14, 2003.

A mum says her nine-year-old son is missing vital swimming lessons because his school refuses to buy him prescription goggles. Charlie Cox, who has limited eyesight, can not swim with his pals at Brookburn Primary School in Chorlton without special goggles. But at £150 a throw, mum Joanne, can't afford them. She says the school should buy them but officials at Manchester Education Authority can not decide who has responsibility for payment. Now Charlie has to sit in a classroom doing extra lessons while his classmates have swimming lessons. Joanne, 31, said: 'He is being discriminated against because of his eyes and it's not fair. I don't have any income as I'm a student so I can't afford the £150.'
South Manchester Reporter, May 22, 2003.

She was once written off by an educational psychologist. But now Maresa MacKeith is taking A-levels at a further education college and is hoping to go to university and become a journalist. Her extraordinary story is told in a CD to launch a campaign to provide disabled children with mentors to show them what they can achieve. The campaign is being organized by Disability Equality in Education and pilot schemes are being pioneered in Newham and Tower Hamlets in London. Richard Rieser, director of DEE, said one young person who had never seen any disabled adults in the community told staff: 'I didn't know what happened after school - I just thought you died.'
The Independent (Education), May 22, 2003.

On current trends, the painfully slow move towards inclusion will mean that some authorities will still be trying to catch up with best practice in 100 years time. A new analysis by the Times Educational Supplement of statistics from the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE), shows that at current rates it will take the highest segregating education authorities over 100 years to reach inclusion levels already achieved by the London Borough of Newham, seen as a trailblazer in bringing special needs pupils into the mainstream.
TES, May 23, 2003.

Disabled visitors to Cheshire will find their stay is even more enjoyable following the launch of an accessibility web site by the County Council. Cheshireforall.com is the first of its kind in the UK and provides independently verified information on access and facilities at all Cheshire's attractions. It also gives a range of hotels and other accommodation that qualify under the National Accessible Scheme. Bert Massie, chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, who officially launched the site at County Hall, Chester, said: 'The internet has had a profound impact on the way we live, work and study. It is vital that this new and powerful technology does not leave disabled people behind, but that its potential for delivering a genuinely inclusive society is realized to the full'.
Crewe Mail, May 30, 2003.

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Three Kingston mothers have called on the council to plug a 'massive childcare gap' and provide the support their disabled children desperately need. Sophie Ugle, Diane Lacey and Mary Macan submitted a report to Kingston Council showing how disabled children and their families are being let down by the borough. The report was written by Ms Ugle because of her own frustration in trying to get childcare for her 12-year-old daughter, Rachel, who has a severe learning disability. Ms Ugle says Kingston's mainstream holiday and afterschool clubs discriminate against her daughter as they say she can not attend without a support worker, which can cost up to £60 a day. The report says: 'There appears to have been little thought in Kingston as to how disabled children can truly access mainstream provision without parents having to beg, fight or with restrictions imposed.'
Surrey Comet, June 6, 2003.

Parents of children with disabilities are being 'forced' to put them into mainstream schools even though it may harm the education of other pupils, a senior union leader has claimed. Alana Ross, president of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) yesterday said that children who are thriving in special schools are being asked by education authorities to move to mainstream schools and parents of prospective pupils are being turned away. The integration drive is the result of new legislation coming into force in August which requires education authorities to 'presume' that all children are educated in ordinary schools. The clause, a late addition to the 2000 Education Act, is aimed at winning greater integration into society for people with disabilities. Calling for a rethink of plans to phase out special schools, Mrs. Ross said that parents will have less choice.
The Scotsman, June 6, 2003.

Education chiefs are promising a positive future for special schools in Bridgwater after unveiling a series of improvements. Under the scheme pupils will no longer have to travel out of their area to go to school and special schools will widen their work with mainstream institutions. The move comes after a review of the county's special schools and Somerset Local Education Authority is proposing to develop community-based special schools. Special schools currently accept pupils from a wide area but under the new scheme clear areas will be defined to ensure pupils do not have to travel a long way. Work with mainstream schools will be widened and special schools will also work more closely together to meet the needs of the community.
Bridgwater Mercury, June 10, 2003.

Baroness Ashton, the Minister responsible for special educational needs, has said that inclusion in education is not based on the school setting. Writing in the Independent newspaper, she said: 'Ensuring children receive an inclusive experience is not dependent on whether a child attends a special or mainstream school. What matters is that children are valued as members of their school community and are able to develop their skills by learning and playing with children from a range of backgrounds and abilities. I believe that whenever possible this should be in a mainstream setting but recognize that will not be right for every child with SEN, nor all of the time.'
The Independent (Education), June 12, 2003.

The warm relationship that has built up between the Marjorie McClure School for the disabled in Bromley, Kent, and its mainstream neighbour, Coopers Technology College, is visibly two-way. While it is now the norm for most of Marjorie McClure's Year 8 and above pupils to attend lessons at Coopers for much of the day, the Cooper's pupils are themselves drawn to the nearby special school for its well-equipped relaxation areas and its poolroom. Sarah Kieran, head of the learning support faculty at Coopers, said: 'Far from expecting the Marjorie McClure students to come across to us the whole time, we have a policy of encouraging both staff and pupils to go to their school too. Not only does this make the relationship between us more equal but it also allows our pupils to experience their often superior facilities'.
The Independent (Education), June 12, 2003.

A disabled teenage who broke her leg while attending school without a carer is suing her local authority for discrimination. The 14-year-old who needed friends to help her around her Cardiff secondary school because she was unable to walk properly, fell during a drama lesson. She was off school for six months and was told that she could not return until a new carer, who would normally give her support, was found. The girl's mother said her daughter has a statement of special educational needs in place outlining her special needs and the local authority and school should provide her with a carer to assist her in school. The school said it could not take the girl back because she did not have a carer and there were insurance implications.
Western Mail, Cardiff, June 14, 2003.

Writing in the letters column of the Daily Mail, Sue Cuthbert describes the different arrangements for two of her sons, both of who have special needs: 'My middle son has an autistic spectrum disorder while my youngest son has a probable autistic spectrum disorder. The middle son attends a mainstream school in a mainstream class with only a small amount of help. After a couple of difficult terms he settled down well. My youngest son, however, started in a mainstream class but could not cope, even though the class had only 14 pupils. He is now in a special needs class attached to a mainstream school. In this environment he is making startling progress, is calm and is starting to join in with the others. This goes to show that there is no hard and fast rule on how children with autism should be taught and passing judgment on parents is unfair'.
Daily Mail, June 16, 2003.

A mother has threatened to pull her blind son out of his school if he is not allowed to attend a specialist college. Louise English said Daniel, 12, would not be returning to Belmont Comprehensive School in Durham after the summer break. She said her son had been bullied and was also unhappy because of safety restrictions which prevented him fully participating in subjects such as PE and cookery and in science experiments. She is fighting with Sunderland Education Authority to send him to the Royal National Institute for the Blind College in Worcester. Places at the boarding school, which has specialist equipment such as talking Bunsen burners and ovens, cost £29,500 a year.
Sunderland Echo, June 23, 2003.

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The Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has backed special schools and called for a re-think of the Government's inclusion policy. The Tory leader said he was deeply concerned about special schools in his north-east London constituency which were threatened with closure because the local council wanted to integrate children into mainstream education. He accused the Government of putting pressure on councils to integrate special needs children and questioned whether this was possible for children with serious difficulties.
Daily Telegraph, July 2, 2003.

An independent adjudicator has backed the closure of Dean Hall School in Gloucestershire. Parents marched in the street to save the school but the Labour-run council said it was following the Government's policy of including all but the most seriously disabled children in mainstream schools. The Local School Organisation Committee, which oversees admissions and places, referred the controversial closure to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, set up under the 1998 Schools Standards and Framework Act. The adjudicator, Hilary Nicolle, the former education director of the London borough of Islington, backed the council and said it had a legal obligation to close special schools and divert money to mainstream classes to comply with the Government's inclusion policy. Her word is final unless the parents can find funds to apply to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision. If the ruling stands, it could sound the death knell for hundred of other schools under threat.
The Daily Telegraph (Weekend), July 5, 2003.

Schools across Scotland will fail to deliver equal access to mainstream education for disabled pupils without greater Scottish Executive support, councils and lobby groups have warned. Legislation to be introduced next month will direct schools to give mainstream education to all pupils, including those with physical and educational special needs, other than in 'exceptional circumstances'. However councils fear they will not be ready to implement the policy, part of the Standards in Scotland's School Act 2000, at the start of the new term. They pinpoint the difficulties in providing access to sprawling secondary schools in ageing buildings.
Sunday Herald (Glasgow), July 6, 2003.

An award-winning special school has lost its battle to stay open. St Anne's Special School in Lewes is to close by 2007. Headteacher Gill Ingold received the decision of an independent adjudicator yesterday and tearfully broke the news to staff after school. The closure will be phased with the primary school section closing in September 2005 before the remaining secondary school closes on August 31, 2007. Cabinet members on East Sussex County Council voted to close the school which has 75 pupils in December, as part of a county-wide review of special needs education. The decision was made because of a drop in numbers but the council was accused of blocking the admission of pupils and not giving some children the option of going to St Anne's. However, an independent adjudicator said he was not convinced the school could continue to be viable educationally or financially in the years ahead.
Brighton Evening Argus, July 15, 2003.

The director of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Micheline Mason, has highlighted the funding difficulties faced by the small number of national voluntary organisations working full-time for inclusive education. She says that as inclusive education is supposedly accepted policy by the Government it might be expected that organisations like hers would by now be fully supported. However, this is not the case. She points out that millions of pounds are still being poured into segregated special schools. For example, Scope has a budget of £61 million to educate fewer than 400 children while the main voluntary organisations working towards inclusion have an annual income of less than £1m between them.
The Guardian (Education), July 29, 2003.

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Controversial new guidelines which urge Scottish councils to place children with special needs in mainstream schools came into force today. Parents and unions have concerns over the new policy and EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union, called today for extra funding to pay for specialist staff teaching. The new policy is part of the Standards in Scotland Schools Act 2000, which comes into force today. Glasgow City Council will receive £10 million to fund staff training, disabled access projects and inclusion programmes. Teaching staff across the city have already received the first phase of training and two autism care centres have been set up at Govan High and Barlanark Primary. A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: 'We will still provide specialist care in cases where it is appropriate. We are well prepared for the introduction of this policy and have spent millions of pounds on training and facilities'.
Glasgow Evening Times, August 1, 2003.

Edinburgh is facing a £60 million bill to make its schools accessible to children with disabilities and special needs. The revelation follows legislation introduced by the Scottish Executive over the last two years which demands that all schools are made accessible to all pupils. Education leaders said they feared legal action from parents if costs prevent them from carrying out all the changes called for. The news has also raised fears that money will be siphoned off from other parts of the education budget to pay for the work. The Council has confirmed changes will have to be made to all 23 city secondary schools, 98 primary schools and more than 200 nurseries.
Edinburgh Evening News, August 7, 2003.

A severely handicapped teenager who cannot walk, talk, or hold a paintbrush has won a place at Oxford to study fine art. Hero Joy Nightingale, 16, who communicates through hand movements, is to be given assistants to paint and sculpt on her behalf. Her mother, Pauline Reid ,'translated' for her daughter during interviews for the place at Magdalen College. A spokesperson for Oxford University said: 'The university welcomes applications from students with disabilities. In cases where students are profoundly disabled, there may be many issues that need to be carefully addressed before an individual can take up a place, such as establishing how the student can best be taught and examined'.
Observer, August 10, 2003.

All pupils at a North Finchley, London, primary school, are being taught how to sign. Summerside Community Primary School in Crossway is the only school in the borough which caters for hearing-impaired children who need to use sign language. Cathy Ward, co-ordinator of the school's deaf and hearing impaired unit, said: 'We are a straightforward primary school with around 250 pupils and we have around 17 deaf and hearing impaired children in the unit. We have a deaf sign language teacher who teaches sign language to the deaf and hearing children in the school, the staff and the caretaker, and the secretary, as well as the parents. The deaf children are then integrated full-time into the mainstream school. It's what we call true inclusion'. Deaf and hearing classmates at the school get the British Sign Language qualification together. And the deaf pupils are also coached in spoken English.
Borehamwood and Elstree Times, August 22, 2003.

A Plymouth youngster has overcome a serious muscular condition to achieve nine top GCSE passes. Chris Powell, 16, has scored nine A to C grades even though he has muscular dystrophy. The congenital condition means he relies on a wheelchair to get around and needs intensive physiotherapy every day. But Chris has fitted in so well at Lipson Community College that he is going to do his A-levels. Principal Steve Baker said: 'As a special needs student, many people in the past would have been quick to write off Chris. Chris and his family should be very proud of this remarkable achievement . It is a testament to a Government, a local education authority, a school and a family which believe in inclusive education.'
Plymouth Evening Herald. August 22, 2003.

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Teaching unions have been condemned by the Government's disability rights watchdog for staging a 'discriminatory' campaign to keep pupils with special educational needs out of mainstream schools. The Disability Rights Commission reacted to a press release issued by the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) stating that the 'policy of inclusion of all pupils into mainstream schools, particularly those with emotional and behaviour difficulties, is proving to be a disaster for both these pupils and their teachers'. The remark was made after official figures showed expulsion figures have risen 4 per cent and that special needs children were four times more likely to be permanently excluded from school. The criticism has led to a heated correspondence between the DRC and the unions: the DRC sees the union's lukewarm and heavily conditional support for inclusion as discriminatory, while teachers blame the blanket view of inclusion as well as poor funding and support for the rise in exclusion figures.
Disability Times, September 1, 2003.

A teenager who was rejected by his chosen college because of his wheelchair, started his first term on Monday after a landmark court judgment. An injunction used to force St Dominic's Sixth Form college, Harrow, London, to accept 17-year-old Anthony Ford-Shubrook was the first issued under new disability legislation which gives disabled students equal rights in choosing where they study. After initially being welcoming, the school said that the chair-climbing wheelchair Anthony was proposing to use was a safety hazard and he could not be admitted to the college after all. 'The Disability Rights Commission helped us to go for an injunction, because if we had waited for it to get to court Anthony's education would have been severely affected,' said Anthony's mother, Cath Ford. Anthony and his parents are now awaiting a full court hearing in October. Anthony said: 'The teachers have been really nice and friendly and I am enjoying it so far, especially geography.'
Harrow Observer, September 4, 2003.

The mother of a seven-year-old autistic boy has slammed Harrow Council education chiefs after her son was denied a place at a special school in neighbouring Hillingdon. Caroline Greavy believes that Hillingdon Manor School for autistic children gives the best opportunities for her son's special needs. However, Harrow Council believes his needs can be met in a local special school. Mrs Greavy has kept seven-year-old Joseph at home for 18 months rather than return him to mainstream where she says he received only two hours support from a learning support assistant and was unhappy.
Harrow Leader, September 4, 2003.

Sign language tutor Rowan Butler has used her teaching to build up her confidence and self-esteem to such a degree that she has been nominated for a national teaching award. Based at North Warwickshire and Hinkley College in Nuneaton, 34-year-old Rowan, who has been deaf since birth, has been recognised for her talent in teaching British Sign Language by making the shortlist for the West Midlands NIACE (National Institute for Adults Continuing Education) 'Adult Teacher of the Year Award'. Rowan has been teaching at the college for more than four years, teaching British Sign Language (BSL) in the evenings alongside her main job working with deaf children in mainstream schools, developing their signing skills.
Nuneaton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 2003.

An autistic six-year-old has missed the start of the new school year after he was suspended because teachers could not cope with his behaviour. Michael Wloch, who has Asperger's syndrome, was suspended from St Stephen's Roman Catholic Primary School in Skipton and later withdrawn by his parents. They blame the school for failing to 'statement' Michael who suffers from behavioural problems so that he could get one-to-one teaching.
Craven Herald and Pioneer, September 12, 2003.

At Birley Spa Primary School in Sheffield a strategy of total inclusion has led to dramatic whole school improvement in SATs results. The head teacher believes that no child whatever their problems should be excluded from the school -- and that includes children with extremely challenging behaviour. Taking in very disturbed and disadvantaged children has acted like a lever to introduce more innovative teaching. Birley Spa is part of a consortium of schools -- the Birley Inclusion Group -- which includes a nursery, four primaries and a secondary. According to the head: 'Children move between special needs and mainstream provision, as their needs determine. There is no way we could cope with some of the children without the support of special schools and specialist services'.
Managing Schools Today, September 13, 2003.

A schoolgirl who cannot speak has won an award for being one of the best achievers in Islington, London. Seven-year-old Helen Wood is autistic and can only say the word 'no; yet manages to have normal conversations with friends and families thanks to a special typewriter. Helen, a keen poet, was recognised by CEA@-Islington, the firm which runs the borough's schools for 'outstanding success in the face of adversity'.
Camden Chronicle, September 18, 2003.

Baroness Warnock has called for a new public inquiry and complete reform of the way schools provide for special educational needs. Baroness Warncock, whose investigating committee set the pattern of today's provision 25 years ago, identifies the biggest fault in the system as statementing -- a procedure her committee invented to protect and stabilise the education of severely disabled children. However, she says, that in practice 'it has been disastrous. It is the major greatest obstacle to good provision. There are far more children statemented than we ever envisaged. It has ceased to be about what the child needs, and has just become a battle for resources'. As well as getting rid of statementing, Baroness Warnock suggests a number of other developments as part of a 'totally reformed system' that serves everybody. These include a halt to inclusion, a system of small schools, an exam system that takes account of different needs, and nursery education which gives children a chance to catch up in vocabulary and language. She says a much broader perspective on responding to special needs, both social and educational, is required.
Times Educational Supplement, September 19, 2003.

Chris Darlington, the new president of Nasen, in an article for the Times Educational Supplement, says Nasen has produced a policy which recognises that inclusion is not a simple concept restricted to issues of placement. Its definition has to encompass broad notions of educational access and the importance of catering for diverse needs. Key principles are valuing diversity, entitlement, dignity, individual needs, planning, collective responsibility, professional development and equal opportunities.
Times Educational Supplement, September 19, 2003.

A thousand people have signed a petition demanding that a threatened special school stay open. And their MP says he will be appealing to Government ministers. Friends of Wedgewood School and Community Nursery in Holme Wood, Bradford, issued the 'hands off' warning to education chiefs as the ten week consultation period came to an end. Bradford Council and its private partner, Education Bradford, want to close ten special schools, including Wedgewood, and replace them with six new purpose-built ones in 2006. Bradford South MP, Gerry Sutcliffe, said he did not object to the principle of replacing the schools -- some of which are in decrepit buildings -- with new ones co-located with mainstream schools to ease integration. But he said the details of the plans had not been properly worked through. Families were still not sure of the time-scale and where the funding was coming from.
Telegraph and Argus (Bradford), September 26, 2003.

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Hawkswood special school in Chingford, London, is to close from August next year after the Special Educational Needs (SEN) row took another twist. The school, which faced an uncertain future after intended changes to SEN provision were announced earlier this year, will finally close after councilors decided that its 43 pupils were not enough to sustain the school's future. All pupils currently attending Hawkswood will continue to be educated at the school until July 2005. However, children who would have continued at the school after that date will be subject to a review assessment, evaluating their special educational needs, to find an appropriate alternative school place. Pupils will either be relocated to other special schools or mainstream schools in the area.

At a Cabinet meeting last week, Coun. Chris Robbins said: 'We are intending that we raise the standards of Special Educational Needs within our mainstream schools. Our Ofsted report told us that we were not doing enough for our main schools and we were putting too much into our special schools. There is no doubt Hawkswood is still under-subscribed. Forty-three pupils is not sufficient to maintain the school and we are recommending that it should be closed. In a statement this week the school said: 'Naturally we are all extremely disappointed at the decision. Although the situation does look bleak, the needs of our children remain our paramount concern. We must now all work together to ensure whatever schools they ultimately move on to, the very best education continues to be offered to them. We are obviously also concerned for the jobs of our dedicated and experienced staff because they are the ones who know the children best and will help ensure their progress. There is a chance Waltham Forest may lose some valuable staff members to the detriment of our children's education'.
Walthamstow Guardian, October 2, 2003.

Deaf children in Wales are at risk of losing out on a basic education as they are forced to cope in a hearing world. They are wasting years learning how to speak instead of being taught sign language and as a result are experiencing high levels of mental health problems, according to the British Deaf Association in Wales. Richard Jones, community advocacy officer for the BDA in Wales, said 2 per cent. of people suffer mental health problems but that shoots up to 27 per cent. in the deaf community. 'Children are made to feel like failures if they can't speak', he said. 'So much of their time in school is spent teaching them to speak at the expense of their education. Eva Fielding-Jackson, youth training officer for the BDA in Wales, said: 'Many deaf people I know are emotionally disabled because they can not communicate with people properly. You hear some really sad stories from people, and you think if their parents had learned sigh language it would be different. There are no schools for the deaf in Wales any more, only units at schools. And often you find at break times the deaf children are on their own because no-one will speak to them'. The BDA would like to see residential schools for the deaf so that children can develop a more secure culture and identity.
Western Mail (Cardiff), October 13, 2003.

A father was today celebrating a second victory over Gloucestershire County Council meaning his severely disabled son will receive the care he is entitled to. Owen McCarthy began the battle for justice for his 16-year-old son Tristan two years ago. Mr McCarthy claimed Tristan, who has cerebral palsy, was not receiving the level of care that had been agreed with the Council. But despite winning the case in the High Court, the Council still failed to provide the level of physiotherapy it was ordered to, he said. The dispute was finally settled at a new hearing in the High Court yesterday. The Council was told by Mr Justice Wall that it had to adhere to an amended care plan for Tristan, as they should have done in the first place. The Council has also been told it cannot appeal against the decision. In addition the Court will continue to supervise implementation of Tristan's statement of special educational needs until July 31 next year to make sure that all the provisions in it are adhered to.
Citizen (Gloucester), October 17, 2003.

Anya Souza, one of two trustees of the Down's Syndrome Association who have Down's syndrome, has expressed her grave reservations at proposals from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence that all pregnant women should be offered NHS tests for Down's syndrome. Writing in the Daily Mail, Anya says many mothers who discover they are carrying a Down's child might believe that the 'safest' and 'kindest' option is to terminate the pregnancy. 'What such terminations imply is that people with Down's syndrome are worthless - and believe me, we're not. We are all people with individual feelings, individual personalities and individual lives which can be as rich and rewarding as yours or mine.' According to Anya, terminations should only be carried out for medical reasons and, in her opinion, Down's syndrome is not an illness. 'Sure I look a bit different from other people but I am definitely not ill. I'm just me.'
Daily Mail, October 22, 2003.

Haqeeq Bostan, research and parliamentary officer for the disability network Radar, says a single equality body could benefit disabled people. According to Haqeeq, if some equality issues - whether race, gender, or disability - were more equal than others, a single equality body would lose credibility instantly. The concept of diversity must incorporate all areas of society. While it was important to recognise concerns that introducing a single body would mean a return to sidelining the views of disabled people and loss of specialist knowledge, there was also a growing belief that equality could no longer be seen as concerning minority issues and that disabled people had much to gain from being thrust into the mainstream of equality and diversity. He said the vision must be of a country where human difference was routinely accepted.
Guardian Unlimited, October 29, 2003.

Teachers in Dunbartonshire, Scotland, have called for more training on educating children with special needs in mainstream classrooms. Frank Healy, East Dunbartonshire's representative for the Education Institute of Scotland, who conducted the survey, said: 'Teachers in this area have made it clear they think things need to change. Teachers are not saying they are against mainstreaming pupils with special needs - they are saying changes have to be made concerning training and class sizes'. A spokesperson for East Dunbartonshire Council said that it was committed to developing education for children with special needs and reviewing and developing its policies within existing frameworks.
West End Extra, October 30, 2003.

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Maria Eagle, Minister for Disabled People, and Bert Massie, Disability Rights Commission Chairman, were put in the hot seat during the UK's first Disabled People's Parliament (UKDPP) meeting in Birmingham. The UKDPP, a separate campaign run by the British Council of Disabled People (BCODP), had more than a hundred people from different parts of the country gathered to pose tough questions about disabled people's rights. A major part of the debate focused on the new law, the Disabled People's Rights and Freedoms Bill, proposed by BCODP. It covers a wide range of issues including rights to health care, inclusive education, independent living, accessible transport and information and advocacy. While also advocating the rights to life, sex, and a family, the bill opposes euthanasia.
Disability Times, November 1, 2003.

Disability Equality in Education (DEE) is asking schools across England to nominate their examples of good practice on making reasonable adjustments for their disabled pupils and prospective pupils. DEE has been commissioned by the DfES and the Disability Rights Commission to produce a practical guide for teachers which will help schools to make adjustments. 'We want schools who have made adjustments or the first time as well as those who have more experience in making reasonable adjustments to tell us about what they have done and how they did it,' said DEE director, Richard Rieser. The nomination forms will be available from half term on the DfES website www.dfes.gov.uk/sen/accessibleschools.
The Teacher, November 1, 2003

David Ruebain, specialist in education and disability law, has been nominated for the Law Society's lifetime achievement award in human rights. At 16, David Ruebain made arrangements to leave his residential special school and attend the sixth form at his local school in Hampstead, London. 'I just had to take charge of my life. There just wasn't anybody else.' At the special school David was offered courses in electronics, shoe-making, tailoring or secretarial. At mainstream school he re-took and passed all eight of his O-levels and progressed to two A-levels. Teachers encouraged him to sit the Oxford entrance exam and at19, he began a degree in philosophy, politics and economics at Oriel College.
The Guardian (Society), November 12, 2003.

Four new special schools are to be built in Kirklees under a multi-million pound scheme to improve services for children with special educational needs. Kirklees Council has agreed to work with construction firms Jarvis and Totty. Under the £25m plans, four new special schools will be built and one will undergo extensive renovations. The authority's cabinet member for education, John Smithson, said: 'What this decision does is give the green light for a new build and refurbishment programme that will transform the support and service we provide for children with special educational needs. On competition of this programme pupils in our special schools will benefit from a high quality education service in top-class surroundings and buildings.' The scheme will be paid for under the Government's Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Jarvis will manage the project but building work will be sub-contracted to Totty.
Yorkshire Post (West/Leeds), November 28, 2003.

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The National Union of Teachers called on parents and teachers to back their campaign to boycott Key Stage testing on the day results were published. The Union is campaigning for a national boycott of the National Curriculum Tests (SATs). The Key Stage 2 were results were dubbed 'useless and totally discredited' by the Union. Blackburn with Darwen NUT secretary, Simon Jones, said: 'We are not against testing when it is appropriate and meaningful but SATs don't serve any useful purpose. The whole testing regime runs counter to inclusive education as schools become more and more reluctant to admit pupils with learning difficulties, social problems or even illnesses that may adversely affect test results'.
Lancashire Evening Telegraph (Blackburn), December 4, 2003.

Stuart Campbell is helping to blaze the trail for Down's Syndrome children. At 17, he has already attained grades at his local secondary school, Loudon Academy in Galston, Ayrshire, and is now studying part of the time there and partly at Kilmarnock College. He may be exceptional but research to be published today will show children who share Stuart's condition would do much better if they were educated in mainstream schools. According to the report by education experts, generations of children with Down's Syndrome may have under achieved at school because too little was expected of them.
The Herald (Glasgow), December 8, 2003.

Governors of a primary school have been ordered to apologise to a six-year-old disabled boy who was left out of the Christmas play and isolated from his classmates by teachers. Jenny Hammond Primary School in Leytonstone, East London, unlawfully discriminated against Lee Buniak because of his disability, a Special Educational Needs Tribunal ruled. Lee, who has a condition called global developmental delay that causes speech and learning difficulties, was the only child in his class excluded from the school's Christmas play. He was left behind in the classroom with a teaching assistant or his mother while the other children went to the hall for rehearsals. He was also left out of class activities to make scenery for the play and Christmas cards for families. The Tribunal was told that Lee was the only pupil not invited to the school's Christmas disco last December and was also excluded from a class trip in March. The school failed to notify his mother when a class photograph was taken, with the result that Lee was the only child missing from the picture. The Tribunal was told that he often went to look at the photograph, which was displayed in the classroom and could not understand why he was not on it. Lee had a statement of special educational needs and Waltham Forest education authority provided the school with funding to recruit a full-time learning support assistant for him in class. The Tribunal ruled that the school failed to provide him with appropriate support for a year, allocating a series of inexperienced assistants to take care of him for two hours each day.
The Times, December 15, 2003.

Parents are launching a last-ditch campaign to save a school for children with special needs. They accuse Wandsworth Council of planning to close Chartfield School in Putney because it wants to sell the land. The Council is due to make a final decision next month. Closure would mean many of the children moving to a mainstream school. Chartfield is said to be unique in London, taking children with learning difficulties through to GCSE and beyond. Wandsworth Council says the proposal is part of a review of special schools. Wandsworth had 10 special schools - more than other boroughs - and many parents wanted their children to attend mainstream schools.
Evening Standard (London), December 19, 2003.

A video highlighting the issues young people with disabilities face when moving from school to adult life was due to be launched today. The Edinburgh-based voluntary group Playback has produced the video, 'Transitions to Adulthood', as part of the European Year of Disabled People. The video will be sent to all secondary schools for use during personal and social education classes.
Edinburgh Evening News, December 16, 2003.

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