Friday, March 16, 2007
Inclusion Dogma Seductive but Harmful for Some Autistic Students
UK MP Lee Scott has criticized the UK government for placing politically correct inclusion dogma ahead of the needs of autistic school children. While inclusion sounds good it hasn't always helped some autistic school children or their classmates.
"Autism needs debated at Westminster
By Sam Adams
A REDBRIDGE MP has criticised the Government for putting political correctness' before the needs of autistic children.
Lee Scott, MP for Ilford North, secured a special parliamentary debate at Westminster last week, calling for the creation of more special schools, three of which currently exist in Redbridge.
The MP believes the Government's focus on educational inclusiveness' has left many youngsters with the condition struggling in mainstream schools when they would develop more effectively in special schools.
He said: "The dogmatic approach of placing all pupils with special needs in mainstream schools has frequently benefited neither them or the children whom they are educated alongside.
"Many of us have at some time been seduced by the theory of inclusion which seems so nice and reasonable and politically correct, but there is clear evidence that it does not work for every autistic child."
The MP criticised the Government for closing down some special schools, and claimed many mainstream schools are unable to provide the learning support needed by autistic youngsters.
He said: "We have seen seven per cent of special schools closed down since 1997 and in a recent report 44 per cent of teachers in local comprehensives admitted they weren't confident in teaching kids with autism."
The MP praised the work of the borough's current special schools, Hatton School in Clayhall, Newbridge School in Ilford and New Rush Hall School, Hainault, but said provision needed to be expanded further.
Replying for the Government, the Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning Bill Rammell said: "I genuinely welcome this debate and the efforts that the hon. Member for Ilford North has made to bring these important issues to the public's attention."