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David Cameron Strikes Again!

March 5, 2010

I’m shocked, and very upset, to read tonight that, as part of their draft policies on schools, the Conservatives plan to call a moratorium on the ideologically-driven closure of special schools and end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools.

It’s no secret to my friends and to regular readers of this blog that I am a passionate supporter of the inclusion of children with special needs into mainstream education. I was lucky enough to have a mainstream education myself. I’ve never said that it was perfect, but I have no doubt that I learnt far more at my mainstream schools than I would have learnt if I had had a special education. I’m lucky enough to know several very intelligent, though severely disabled, people. They, along with their parents, fought, and won, very difficult and very painful battles to be allowed access to mainstream educations. My parents and I also had to fight before I was allowed into mainstream school.

We did not go through all our battles and all our pain so that, a few too many years later, any politician would say that there was a bias towards inclusion rather than attendance of special schools.

I am the first to hate, and to avoid, getting personal in these situations, but this time, I can’t help myself. It’s no secret that David Cameron’s son, Ivan, attended a special school, so this policy has obviously been thought up from the Camerons’ personal experience. However, just as many campaigners for inclusion accept that some children need special schools, I wish that David Cameron would accept that many people have already benefitted a great deal from receiving an inclusive education, and that, given the chance, many more will benefit from inclusion in the future.

Has he considered that any ‘bias’ towards inclusion exists for a good reason- because the last time I checked, special schools didn’t teach very much that was educational at all.

As if I needed any more, this has been added to the long list of reasons why I won’t be voting Conservative. If you support inclusion, and don’t want to see children who can handle the mainstream academic curriculum being sent to special schools for no good reason, then I hope you won’t vote Conservative either.

This post is part of the Inclusion Rules! debate at Same Difference.


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