Schools inspectors in England say hundreds of thousands of pupils are categorised as having special educational needs (SEN) when they simply require better teaching.
Some 1.7 million children have been identified as having problems with learning, but a report from Ofsted says that in a quarter of those cases the special needs classification is wrong.
Former assistant general secretary of the NUT John Bangs said the report had identified an important issue, but failed to give the right recommendations for its solution.
"What it doesn't say is that teachers do need that extra back-up, they do need that training and development," he said.
"It's recommendations simply are not appropriate to the findings of the report."
Headteacher Jo Shuter accepted that a good teacher could involve almost all pupils in their lessons, but defended the extra support given to many of the children at her school.
"People now understand a lot more about what hinders learning, and hinders progress, and in schools we fall over ourselves to meet those needs, whatever they are," she said.
"It takes a lot more now than just teaching to enable kids in challenging situations to be successful."
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