Pupils with special needs ‘excluded by mainstreaming’

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 May 2016 in News

Children with additional support needs not included at mainstream schools, warns ENABLE

Seven in 10 pupils with learning disabilities do not get enough time or attention from teachers to meet their needs, according to early findings from a survey by charity ENABLE.

The findings show the policy of ‘mainstreaming’ all children into comprehensive schools, introduced in 2000, has led to children with special needs feeling excluded, the charity has said.

Eighty-five per cent of young people with learning disabilities reported they do not get the same chances to take part in playground games as everyone else in school.


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Jan Savage, ENABLE Scotland’s Director of Campaigns and External Affairs said: “The presumption to mainstream, as current guidelines promotes, does not always mean inclusion. Simply being present in the classroom doesn’t mean being included.

“Too many children and young people with learning disabilities are being excluded by friends and peers, by the curriculum and classrooms and from opportunities and activities that make up the spectrum of school life.”

In January the previous schools minister Alasdair Allan said the government would review the guidance on the duty to provide mainstream education, and ENABLE have now challenged the new education secretary John Swinney to listen to pupils with additional support needs (ASN) themselves.

The charity hopes to encourage government to learn from its ‘Included in the Main’ national consultation.

The 2004 Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act placed a duty is placed on local authorities to identify, provide for and review the ASN of their pupils. However, the numbers of ASN staff in schools has declined in recent years as council budgets have been squeezed.

“Scotland cannot continue to cut support services for young people with learning disabilities and deliver on its promises to give them the best possible future,” said Savage.

Last week the NASUWT teaching union called for class sizes to be reduced where ASN pupils are present.

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