Union vents anger at inclusion policy

Teachers have turned on the government’s policy on inclusion and
have called for more special schools to be set up.

They fear current policy will result in the most vulnerable
children experiencing repeated failure and leave the most inclusive
schools floundering at the bottom of local league tables.

The attack came at the National Association of Schoolmasters Union
of Women Teachers’ (Nasuwt) annual conference in Wales.

Amanda Haehner, chair of Nasuwt’s education committee, said there
should be more schools for children with severe special educational
needs and disabilities to provide the education that would enhance
their prospects.

The reality of inclusion meant that pupils who needed specialist
help were subjected to the national curriculum and an inflexible
testing regime which allowed “our most vulnerable children to
experience failure over and again”, she added.

Pupils with challenging behaviour were the area of inclusion that
teachers had most concern about, she said. Coping with such
behaviour in classrooms often made teaching the “least important
part of their job”.

Haehner said: “Teachers now view the trend towards greater
inclusion with cynicism, seeing it as a way of cost-cutting with
essential resources needed not being provided.” She warned that the
most inclusive schools would be at the bottom end of local league
tables and might turn into “enormous special schools but without
any of the benefits of true special education”.

She proposed a motion, which delegates backed, calling for the
expansion of special schools and other specialist facilities for
pupils with severe disabilities and urging fully funded alternative
provision for pupils with behavioural difficulties.

Meanwhile, calls by Nasuwt for a policy to allow teachers to sue
children who falsely accuse them of abuse have been criticised by
the NSPCC.

The children’s charity said such a move could prevent those at risk
from coming forward for fear that they would be “punished”.

In a statement, the charity said allegations needed to be
investigated thoroughly, speedily and appropriately as they were in
situations involving adults.

Conference delegates voted for a change in the law so that teachers
could take legal action against under-18s or their parents who make
false allegations.

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