Mainstream schools can’t manage special needs pupils, say teachers

By Tony Halpin
Union calls for an end to the policy of inclusion after a study suggests that it harms all children

THE policy of educating children with special needs in mainstream schools has failed and must be changed immediately, the country’s biggest teaching union said yesterday.

The National Union of Teachers dramatically reversed decades of support for “inclusion” and demanded a halt to the closure of special schools. It called on the Government to carry out “an urgent review of inclusion in policy and practice”.

The union issued a report by academics at Cambridge University, which suggested that inclusion was harming children with special needs, undermining the education of others and leaving teachers exhausted as they struggled to cope with severe behavioural and medical conditions.

John MacBeath, one of the authors, described inclusion “as a form of abuse” for some children, who were placed in “totally inappropriate” schools where they inevitably failed.

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