Disability Groups

UK. GOVERNMENT WARNING ... Are we going to send your child to mainstream school with out safe guards!!! UK Governments green paper for (SEN) special educational needs - our response

1) Recognising the important value of preparing all persons with autism for successful functioning within society. Each person with autism should be taught with the goal of successful functioning with as few restrictions as is possible.

2) Decisions about including children with autism into fully integrated settings must be made consistent with the principal of the "least restrictive environment" as a guiding principal. No person with autism should be unnecessarily or inappropriately denied access to meaningful educational activities. However, it should be noted that the concept of least restrictive environment requires that appropriate learning take place. Placement decisions also require that students be capable of meaningful learning and functioning within the setting selected.

3) Activities which are inclusive for children with autism should be offered based on an individual assessment of the child's skills and abilities to function and participate in the setting. Inclusion activities are appropriate only when preceded by adequate assessment and pre-placement preparations including appropriate training. Inclusion activities typically need to be supported by professionals trained in autism who can provide assistance and objective evaluation of the appropriateness of the activity.

4) Inclusion should never replace a full continuum of service delivery, with different students with autism falling across the full spectrum. Full inclusion should be offered to all persons with autism who are capable of success in fully integrated settings. Partial inclusion is expected to be appropriate for other clients with autism. And special classes and schools should be retained as an option for those students with autism for whom these settings are the most meaningful and appropriate.

Things to consider

The paper suggests that special needs is a tempory state. Many of our children will have special needs for the whole of their lifetime. Special schools work hard to help children come to terms with their disabilities. The lack of a disabled peer group in a mainstream setting can cause problems, particularly for older children.

There is an assumption that providing a ramp, a special chair and a computer will ebable a child to be educated in a mainstream school.
Will mainstream schools want more children with special needs? They threaten to lower the levels achieved in the league tables and spoil attendance figuires.

Educating a child with special needs is a full-time job and cannot be done effectively by a specialist dropping in to support mainstream teachers on an occasional basis.

Children with low incidence disabilities are often those who need to have the shortest journey time possible. This raises the concern over the idea of regional planning to meet those needs.

Some schools already have difficulty in recruiting specialist staff. Will there be teachers, especially those to teach children with profound and multiple learning difficulties, in a few years time? Specialist knowledge cannot be acquired over a few days of training. There should be initial teaching courses designed especially for teachers who wish to teach children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Extracts from the response to Education for All by AUTISM Independent UK

For far too long extreme groups such as CSIE have had far too much say and we openly challenge them to make clear exactly who they represent and how they feel they have a mandate. There is a mistake all too often made to prescribe all special needs children as one and the same. The physical disability lobby has clouded the entire inclusion issue. What is right for one child cannot and must not be claimed to be right for another.

Association of Workers for Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties


Parents have a right to express a preference for a maintained school. In general, if there is room in the school, a child must be admitted if the parents wish him to attend.

Maintained schools include those funded by the LEA and those that are grant maintained. There are also voluntary-aided and special agreement schools, which are usually church schools. All maintained schools have to make provision for children with special educational needs, including dyslexia. All maintained schools must have a Special Educational Needs Policy giving information to parents.

It is the duty of Local Education Authorities and Governors to comply with any preference expressed by parents. A parent in expressing a preference does not need to choose a school in a particular Local Education Authority. A child can be sent across a boundary.

The child must be admitted unless the admission would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources or in the case of a selective school if the child is unsuitable by ability of aptitude. Every school has an admissions policy which explains the criteria they will use to offer places if the school is over-subscribed. Typical criteria give preference to children who have elder brothers or sisters at the school or who live within the shortest distance from the school. Some schools, generally church schools, can refuse a child if he/she does not have a religious background. If any school is not full it must admit all children whose parents want them to go there.

If their child is not admitted to the school of their choice parents have a right to appeal which must be explained in the letter refusing their child a place.
British Dyslexia Association - Advice to parents on choosing a school.

Parents and young people are entitled to express a preference for where that education should take place.

NASEN, Policy Document on Inclusion


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