Special Education Needs in Mainstream Schooling

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Here at The Money Shed we know that a huge part of our audience are parents of children who are at school. This week we have a different style of blog post written by one of our members Chammy who wanted to speak on this very specialist subject.

It is clear from the amount of coverage there is in the news that there are more children being diagnosed with special education needs now more than ever. This is mainly due to more research being put into children’s learning and understanding that every child is different so need their education tailoring to suit them.

In 2005 the Labour government launched their ‘inclusion for everyone’ school policy which was met with harsh criticism from parents, teachers and education officials. It was felt that it would be a burden on the teaching staff, having to give more attention/time to children with SEN and detrimental to the children as the curriculum is tailored to the needs of the ‘average’ child.

As a parent whose son goes to school with children that have a varying degree of needs, I hear from parents on a daily basis about the additional help their children are receiving within a main stream school. The majority of this is good, the children are able to interact with a range of children which can have a positive effect – especially with those children who struggle with social relationships. Occasionally there are some negative comments with regards to the extra assistance their children need, such as speech and behavioural specialists.

There are some children who just thrive in a school that is designed to teach children with additional needs. I know a parent whose son was severally let down by mainstream schools (he suffers with autism and seizures) and she ended up having to move him to a SEN school where they are able to meet his needs in ways that mainstream schools just couldn’t.

A recent survey conducted by Maxwell Gillott (a trading style of Simpson Millar) shows that the general thoughts are that the policy is working for both the children and those in the educational roles. The children with special educational needs are, mostly, receiving the additional support they need and are thriving within a mainstream environment. You can read the survey here.

I personally believe that for the majority of children, the inclusion policy is working but do agree that for some that the additional support they need just cannot be provided by mainstream school – this is where specialised schools are still needed. I do think some schools and teachers are in need of additional training as well as some extra funding. My son’s previous school seemed to struggle with any child who needed that little extra help, they labelled my son as disruptive and attention seeking when he was the youngest in the class who just needed that extra help; his current school have reported no problems with his learning or behaviour.

There is still a lot of investment needed into our current schooling system with a focus on supporting those children who do need that extra help, obviously without taking away from those children who excel within the school environment. Additional funding and training is the way to go, ensuring that teachers and support staff are armed with as much knowledge as they possibly can have to help these children be the best they can be.