Report: Inclusive Education Equal To Specialized Schools In Students'
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 18, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--An education watchdog group has concluded that the quality of education for students with intellectual disabilities in England is about the same in inclusive mainstream schools as it is in segregated, specialized schools.
In a 27-page report, entitled "Inclusion: Does it matter where pupils are taught?" released last Thursday by England's Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), found that high quality, experienced teachers, coupled with a commitment to quality education from school leaders, had more to do with students' progress than where the teaching took place.
The inspectors did determine that mainstream schools that had additional resources were most successful in helping students reach academic, social and personal outcomes.
They found further that students with the most complex learning difficulties and behavior problems who were educated in mainstream schools were just as likely to perform well as those taught in segregated schools -- when they were taught by experienced, qualified teachers.
The report was critical of inclusive education programs that, it said, relied too heavily on teaching assistants.
Advocates for inclusive education have pointed out that teaching students with disabilities alongside other students has tremendous benefits aside from academic progress, such as, for example, improved social interaction and individual empowerment.
"Inclusion: Does it matter where pupils are taught?" (Ofsted)
"Teachers urge rethink on inclusion policy" (The Guardian)
"Special needs schooling compared" (BBC News)