Readers views on special schools, role of the GSCC, care home residents access to NHS services, and sex education

Letters published in the 12 March issue of Community Care magazine

Beware the inclusion extremists

Doing what is superficially logical does not always produce the desired outcome. Further to the response of Simone Aspis (Letters, 12 February,, she makes the flawed assumption that the needs of all disabled children and adults are the same. They are not.

She assumes that full ratification will meet the needs of “the disabled”. It will not and people with disabilities do not constitute a uniform homogenous group.

The pragmatic proposal of the UK government to ratify the UN Disability Convention with certain reservations or opt-outs in order to maintain the right of parents to choose the special school or specialist care provision they need is welcomed by thousands of family carers. This is contrary to the false impression created by the extreme inclusionists and their irrational campaign to close down all such specialist provision.

Aspis seems to be unaware of the children with special needs whose lives are made a misery when forced into mainstream schools against their wishes.

She chooses to ignore the plight of people with autism and learning disabilities incarcerated in prisons or secure hospitals – not because they are dangerous criminals, but because there was nowhere else for them to go. When unable to cope in mainstream provision they could not get the special school, college or residential care provision they needed due to inclusionism. They then often accidentally collided with the criminal justice system.

The inclusion extremists must begin to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

Simon Burdis, family carer, Cumbria

Role of GSCC is to protect the public

John Davies urges the General Social Care Council to “speak out for social workers” (Front Line Focus, 5 March,).

We share Davies’s concern about the tone of media coverage of recent events and the negative portrayal of social workers. It undervalues the skill and commitment of social workers in managing highly challenging and complex situations and undermines the recruitment of able people into the profession.

However, it is important to understand the role of the GSCC. It is the workforce regulator – not a professional representative body or a union. Our role is not to represent the interests of social workers but to protect the public by promoting high quality standards in social work and social care, and by holding registered social workers to account for delivering those standards. The emphasis of our work is in standard setting, the accreditation of education, and registration. The powers we have to address misconduct are used only in the few cases when individual social workers fail to abide by our codes.

Alongside our regulatory activities we use every opportunity to promote the value of social work through the media, at events and contact with the public who come to us with requests for information.

We will also be contributing with others to World Social Work day on 17 March to celebrate the profession.

Robust and focused regulation is essential to public protection, but it is also in the interests of social workers themselves.

Rosie Varley, Chair, General Social Care Council

Equal NHS access for care home residents

It is often forgotten that residents in care homes, as citizens, are entitled to all NHS services like everyone else. In some cases, such as dental care from the community dental services, this is patchy at best. All NHS trusts should have a comprehensive policy of care for care homes residents that ensures they have equal access to NHS services.

Gerard McMullan, Health service volunteer, London

Parental reluctance to talk about sex

Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe and one that has increased slightly, according to the latest figures.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has responded with targeted intervention to increase use of contraception. But evidence strongly suggests that when teenagers can talk to their parents about sex, they are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners and use contraception.

Yet there is still a reluctance to hold these conversations.

Parentline Plus runs a social networking website for parents of teens and a free confidential, 24-hour Parentline on 0808 800 2222.

Hilary Chamberlain, Policy manager, Parentline Plus

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