Inclusive Education - press release
10 April 2012
Commenting after the debate on Motion 36, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;
“Inclusion is not about placing all disabled children and children with SEN in either mainstream schools or special schools, ignoring difference and ‘treating all pupils the same. It is about appropriate provision to meet each pupil’s needs in the most appropriate setting and making reasonable adjustments to enable every pupil to access the whole life of the school. The provision and the adjustments may be different for each pupil. This is the essence of inclusion, and is what teachers work hard to provide.
“Inclusion remains a process that cannot be imposed. The NUT has always said that a range of provision should be in place for pupils to ensure that their needs are met. All Pupil Referral Units should be maintained by their local authority – the NUT will campaign tirelessly to protect this form of special needs provision from conversion to academy status. Current cuts to SEN and behaviour services are letting down children with SEN and increasing their exclusion and isolation. Exclusion rates in academies are often higher than in other schools and this must be urgently addressed.
“Local authorities, democratically accountable to their local communities, are key to that concept and must retain the capacity to maintain and provide additional support to schools when it is needed. Current Government education cuts, and the accelerating academies programme, are fatally undermining provision for pupils with SEN and for disabled pupils.”