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Tories Worry Inclusive Education Is Causing "Special" Schools To Close
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 9, 2004

LONDON, ENGLAND--Years of work by advocates of inclusive education could be undone by conservative Tories, British news services have reported.

The conservatives want to review the decades-long trend toward placing children with disabilities in mainstream classrooms, which advocates claim is the children's fundamental right.

David Cameron, a Tory member of Parliament whose son has physical and mental disabilities, called for an investigation after he learned that his son's "special" school was having to close its doors. Cameron believes that the practice of including such students in regular classrooms is jeopardizing specialized, segregated programs.

"This is crazy. We're talking about some of the most vulnerable children in the country with huge needs, they really can't do anything for themselves," Mr. Cameron told the BBC. "And yet this blanket policy of inclusion is being used to close special schools."

The Tories have sent a document to 100 disability groups asking, "Is the government's policy of inclusive education for disabled children working or are disabled children being physically included but educationally excluded?"

Many British disability groups agree with the government's move toward inclusive education.

"The whole movement to 1979 onwards has been to try to make sure that no child is denied a mainstream education simply because of their special needs or disabilities," said Liberal Democrat education spokesman Phil Willis.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said that there is no need for such an investigation, because there has never been a plan to close specialized schools.

"Tories may educate disabled children in separate schools outside mainstream" (The Independent)
"No plans to close special schools" (BBC News)


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