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EDITIONS
Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Teachers oppose further inclusion
Classroom
Teachers say the majority loses out
By Gary Eason at the NASUWT conference in Jersey

Teachers are demanding a halt to the inclusion of pupils with serious special educational needs in mainstream schools without proper support.

Delegates at the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) annual conference told of their frustration at funding cuts and at not being trained in how to help pupils with special needs.

Andrew Mather
Andrew Mather: Not trained to help
A knock-on effect was that the majority of children were being denied their education because their teachers' time was taken up with those with special needs.

Mike Wilson from Nottinghamshire said: "I would go so far as to say that total inclusion is a form of child abuse, especially if the child is in the completely wrong environment for their educational needs.

"Simply saying all children must be in mainstream schools is arrant nonsense - some children's needs simply can't be met in that environment."

Hyperactivity

He said teachers might have to cope with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties who had not taken their Ritalin, the drug used to treat hyperactivity.

"In their class, this EBD child has gone ballistic or has forgotten their double dose of Ritalin or simply won't co-operate and is throwing chairs around the classroom," he said.

Secondary school teacher Mandy Carter said she felt she was working in the "biggest special school in Nottinghamshire".

"Instances of violence and abusive behaviour are on the increase and the language that pollutes my ears gets more offensive.

"Being told to 'eff off' is often the nicest thing I get told to do every day."

Lack of training

A young teacher, Andrew Mather from Oldham, said one of the things that inclined him to leave the profession was coming across frustrating situations such as trying to teach science to a 12 year old with a reading age of five.

Kathy Wallis
Kathy Wallis: Faced with a lack of resources
"I'm not trained to teach a 12 year old how to read," he said. "I want to help him but I can't. I don't know how to.

"I want to also help this lad who has clearly got emotional and behavioural difficulties but I can't because I wouldn't know properly how to. That's not what I have been trained to do."

Kathy Wallis of Bodmin Community College, Cornwall, railed against budget cuts in the county.

Six hundred thousand pounds for pupils with learning difficulties had been withdrawn from schools "overnight", she said.

"We still have the same students. We still have the same problems," she said.

"I am expected to run the department that all others in the county are to be modelled on."

The conference demanded that special schools be given recognition and encouraged to enrol more pupils to reverse "the trend of unsustainable inclusion".

See also:

20 Mar 01 | UK Education
13 Mar 01 | UK Education
22 Dec 00 | UK Education
26 Jun 00 | UK Education
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