The closure of special schools is "disastrous", the leader of the Conservatives, David Cameron, has said.
The Conservatives says inclusion does not work for all
Mr Cameron called for a moratorium on special school closures.
He attacked the Labour government for supporting a policy of inclusion, saying it placed many pupils inappropriately in mainstream schools.
The criticism came as the government announced a test to ensure special schools were not closed unless better provision is put in their place.
Speaking at a seminar on special educational needs called by the Tories at the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said it was "absurd" that special schools were being closed at more than three times the rate of mainstream secondaries - even though fewer of them were classed as inadequate by Ofsted inspectors.
He referred to Ofsted figures showing that eight out of 10 special schools were rated "good" or "outstanding" in 2005-06, and just 2% inadequate - compared with 13% of mainstream secondaries.
Despite this, 117 special schools had closed since 1997, including 26 closures in 2004-05 alone, he said.
By contrast, just 25 mainstream secondaries were shut down in 2004-05.
"Last year, special schools in the UK were six times less likely than secondary schools to be inadequate, but three times more likely to be closed," said Mr Cameron.
"And not one of those special schools was shut because Ofsted listed it as performing badly.
"So the schools that are good are being closed and the schools that are inadequate are being kept open. This is absurd.
"The assault on popular special schools is disastrous for children. The needs of these children must not be sacrificed to an ideology of inclusion."
Mr Cameron, whose son has learning difficulties, said he had "a personal commitment" to special educational needs (SEN).
On Tuesday, the eve of the Conservatives SEN seminar, schools minister Lord Adonis announced a new test that will ensure special schools cannot be closed unless better provision is put in their place.
"We are issuing strong guidance following the Education and Inspections Act that if a local authority proposes a special school closure, they must clearly demonstrate that the new provision they are putting in place is better than what was there before," he said.
"This test will provide added protection and a guarantee to local communities, children and parents that SEN provision in their area can only get better."
Lord Adonis also announced that the mandatory training of special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) was a top priority.
The training would be piloted from next year and apply to all new SENCOs from 2008.