Left wing educationalists, TES journos, Government Ministers and do-gooders look away now. This will offend you. And if doesn't, it should do.
Inclusion doesn't work.
The original 1978 work into inclusive teaching was a masterstroke of the late 70s socialist government thinking. The idea that all children, regardless of their emotional, physical or educational needs should all be taught in the same school. They should get the same education (and thus, as she called them, life chances) as every other pupil.
But, we are told, whilst they are to be educated together they should be taught differently. Only you can't stream because that's wrong too, so every teacher should differentiate to the whole ability and needs range in one classroom. What absolute nonsense.
The problem is, every child is different (or as the current lexicon has it, every child matters). So when the New Labour government came to power in 1997, socialist thinking came creeping back in and special schools empied their classrooms into mainstream education. Teachers are expected to teach the entire ability range, differentiating where required and adapting to the vast array of behavioural and emotional needs in their class.
New evidence now suggests that children with very special educational needs (SEN) actually suffer from mainstream schools often becoming the victims of bullying and suffering from being taught in larger classes by teachers who are often (myself included) not equipped to deal with their needs.
SEN pupils need priority but a vast majority of the most special cases need to be in special schools to achieve this. You cannot keep throwing these pupils at your common-or-garden classroom teacher and telling them to keep adapting. It doesn't suit the pupils, it doesn't suit the teachers ... and it shouldn't suit the parents.
New Tory Leader David Cameron has made much out of his campaign to maintain Special Schools. He should be congratulated for that stance, but now I want to see him explode the left-wing myth about Inclusion. Real individualised learning means pupils being in the right school at the right time. The vast majority of pupils with EAL, SEN or advanced behavioural problems would benefit outside of mainstream education rather than from being in it.
This is not some rant of a teacher "too lazy" to teach the whole range - as a colleague from another school regularly says about me. I teach to all abilities in my classroom and I keep a safe and disciplined environment in my classroom. It is about meeting the individual needs of each pupil not one-size fits all. If pupils need work on literacy to bring them up to standard, or need help with behavioural management then that should be done outside of the mainstream classroom. Whats wrong with letting the overwhelming hard working majority get on with their work without having their teacher taken away to deal with the needs of the few.
Didn't Tony Blair once say something about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few? Well, Special Schools and units will meet the needs of both - both the many in mainstream education and the few in those schools and units. So, come on Tony - I know it is a bit much expecting you to fulfill a pledge in your dying days but this would be a great legacy: denounce inclusion.
Too many inclusion do-gooders with too many excuses I'm afriad.