Filed under: Special Needs Education | Tags: accountability, Coalition, education, educational cleansing, government, ideology, language, legitimacy, nicola clark, rich and poor, sharp elbowed parents, social inclusion, Special Educational Needs, spin
Nicola Clark says in yesterday’s Guardian ‘Stripping SEN children of their labels smacks of educational cleansing’ and she’s right. She says
‘In my view, stripping the children of their labels and giving more power and less accountability to schools smacks of educational cleansing. Without specific support, SEN children’s needs won’t be met and challenging behaviours will manifest. Predictable exclusions will no doubt follow.’
I wholeheartedly agree with this. Not only that, I think the timing of the OFSTED report that advocates that schools do less in terms of labelling or that there be a reduced legislative right for children to have their SEN identified and provided for is not an accident. The whole business of meeting the needs of SEN children in schools will cost less because they will be entitled to less, and these children will simply soon not be in mainstream schools as they find they can’t cope and schools find they don’t have to keep them.
When you look at the language used by the coalition, its ministers and some of the Press, to describe – ‘scroungers’, ‘benefit cheats’, ‘SEN misdiagnosed’, ‘sharp elbowed parents’ – you can see that a whole sector of the population that is vulerable is being set up to have the support they receive taken away. The public sector have ‘gold plated pensions’ the private sector has ‘suffered for too long;. The coalition is trying to hoodwink the electorate into going along uncomplainingly with their new ideologies that can only serve to widen the divide between the rich and poor, the haves and have nots …….. and dare I say it, the deserving and less deserving. The spin and language used by the coalition is trying to reshape the public perception of who deserves to be supported in society and who doesn’t. I find the compliance, or lack of objection from the general public utterly depressing, particularly when it comes to education and social inclusion. Meanwhile the government machine trundles on, approviing a free school here, closing a LA controlled school there, and to object is to be one of a few ‘voices in the wilderness;.
The one thing that will get this coalition government through is not the veracity of their ideals, or the legitimacy of their ideology, but the simple fact that the general public is not objecting.
Filed under: Education and the new government | Tags: Academies, community cohesion, David Cameron, Ed Balls, Fabian Society, Free Schools, labour leadership, local secondary schools, Michael Gove, Pupil Premium, Rosa Prince, social cohesion, social deprivation, social inclusion, Special Educational Needs, The Guardian
I agree totally with this article, and for me, Cameron’s response to the idea of sending his children to a local comprehensive school said it all. Not only that, there was recently a move by the Telegraph in it’s article by Rosa Prince ‘Sharp rise in number of special needs pupils’ to link low achievement in children with bad behaviour rather than any special educational need they might have. She speculates that these badly behaved children are being over labelled with an SEN in order to enable their schools to improve their standing in the league tables, and parents to cherry pick the best schools! See Rosa Prince’s article.
Children from poorer families are umuch less likely to have parents with the time and energy and confidence to get involved with a Free School, and will be left on the sidelines with the ‘undesirable schools’. Not only that, there is no ring fencing of the pupil premium and it looks increasingly likely that this money might not actually reach the children for whom it is intended. Unfortunately, if state schools under local authority control have to compete with free schools and academies for funding these schools will be much less able to improve. Their funding will be reduced because they will have to share it with any new academies or free schools that might have been set up in their area.
I still haven’t figured out why the government can’t simply put this vast amount of money into improving the schools we already have, for the benefit of all children.
I always try not to be too political. So here’s a comment to try to balance things up. With the honourable exception of Ed Balls we haven’t heard much about Education from the other four Labour leadership contenders. Of course, the economy dominates the headlines but here’s a challenge: rather than concentrate on what mistakes have or have not been made in running the economy, lets deal with the future of our country. Education is fundamental to all of our futures and I believe that equipping ALL of OUR children with the skills and abilities to be successful and economically/financially independent to their full potential is vital. Schools are also the nursery for successful social cohesion and any educational system which is not based on equality of opportunity is simply storing up social problems for the future.