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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Special needs school pressure
pupil referral unit
Heads say they need extra cash to help special needs pupils
Teachers in primary schools are having to cope with an increasing number of pupils with special needs, researchers say.

According to a study by the National Foundation for Educational Research, up to 40% of head teachers said the number of children with special educational needs (SEN) had risen over the past year.


There is a danger that the inclusion agenda is being pushed too fast

David Hart, NAHT

This included an increase in pupils with behavioural problems.

Of the 320 head teachers surveyed, 58% said the range of special needs had widened and only 5% said it had narrowed.

The government supports a policy of inclusion, where pupils with physical disabilities or behavioural problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), can be taught in mainstream school.

But schools say this can only be achieved with sufficient resources.

Extra cash

The study found that almost half the heads had had to devote more of their budget to specialist equipment and support staff.

Four out of 10 said they had been forced to make timetable changes to accommodate special needs pupils and a third highlighted the impact that more disruptive pupils had made on the atmosphere in the classroom.

The researchers found the parents of children with special needs were glad their offspring were getting the opportunity to be educated in mainstream schools.

But some head teachers said the parents of children without special needs had voiced concerns about the levels of time teachers had to devote to special needs pupils.

Behavioural problems

But the National Association of Head Teachers said more pupils with behavioural problems faced expulsion unless the government set aside more money for specialist staff in schools.

NAHT general secretary David Hart said: "There is a danger that the inclusion agenda is being pushed too fast."

"Although most people are signed up to inclusion, they certainly don't support inclusion at any price," said Mr Hart.

"Unless we get a significant injection of additional resources in primary schools, I think we are going to see more and more pupils excluded, simply because staff haven't got the time or the resources to deal with needs that are becoming more extreme."

See also:

08 Jul 02 | Education
31 Mar 02 | Education
04 May 01 | Education
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23 Jun 00 | Education
13 Sep 02 | Education
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