Campaigners have called for politicians to show their support for inclusive education, to mark the 30th anniversary of a key piece of legislation.
The Alliance for Inclusive Education this week marked 30 years since the passing of the 1981 Education Act, which allowed parents for the first time to state a preference for a mainstream school placement for their disabled child – subject to certain conditions – while imposing a duty upon local authorities to arrange “specialist support” in such schools.
ALLFIE said that inclusive education legislation has been strengthened over the last 30 years – with cross-party support – leading to the “phenomenal achievement” of 99 per cent of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) now being educated in mainstream schools.
But ALLFIE and other campaigners fear this progress could be at risk because of the coalition government’s SEN policies, which include a pledge to “remove the bias towards inclusion” in the education system.
This week, ALLFIE called on its members to arrange invitations for their MP to visit their local mainstream school and learn about the benefits of inclusive education practice by sitting in on classes and talking with pupils, parents, teachers, head teachers and governors.
It will also call on MPs to sign an early day motion recognising the “significant contribution” that inclusive education has made to improving the lives of disabled and non-disabled children over the last 30 years.
2 November 2011