Inclusion Confusion

Tim Paramour

Should we stop talking about “behavioural needs” in primary schools?

Inclusion is something of a sacred cow in British education nowadays and this piece will divide opinion considerably. Before I begin, I think I need to state a few things clearly. The basic principle behind the Inclusion agenda is noble and good. When my parents were children, their peers with physical disabilities were often educated in separate institutions because many mainstream schools couldn’t meet their needs. A consensus has emerged since then that barriers to children attending mainstream schools should be removed and this is right. Huge progress has been made on making schools accessible to disabled people (though more work can and must be done.)

During my career I have had the privilege to help children with serious physical and other disabilities flourish at primary school. I fear for the future of the provision that facilitated this given the…

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