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Special education needs and the UK election

Posted in Attitudes to disability, Educational research, Learning disability, Politics by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on April 21, 2010

Having stuck my beak into the US election, it’s funny that I don’t feel the same need to blog about the current UK election campaign in the context of Down’s syndrome and special needs (maybe because there aren’t such, ahem, polarizing characters in the UK).

Anyway, from The Guardian, by way of the Down’s Syndrome Association, here’s how the three major parties compare on attitudes to Special Education Needs (SEN):


“Parents of children with special educational needs would have the right to a choice of school, like other parents. Ofsted, the children’s inspectorate, would be given responsibility for inspecting schools on SEN, information for parents would be improved and the tribunal process made easier, so that children with SEN and disabilities can access the auxiliary aids they need in schools. Other intiativies already under way will remain, such as the Achievement for All pilots to improve outcomes for children with SEN, funding for 4,000 additional teachers to undertake specialist dyslexia training by 2011, the requirement for SEN co-ordinators to have qualified teacher status by September, and the review of the supply of those teaching children with profound and multiple learning disabilities.”


“On special educational needs, the Tories would impose a moratorium on the “ideologically driven” closure of special schools, ending the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools.”

Liberal Democrats

“Children would take a diagnostic assessment when they start school. The assessment would look at reading, comprehension, numeracy, communication and writing skills. The results would enable teachers to identify any extra support needed. The Lib Dems would also end the policy of trying to reduce the number of children educated in special schools and instead would encourage the co-location of special schools alongside mainstream schools. For those educated in mainstream schools, part of the extra £2.5bn investment would go to help teachers provide more individual support, one-to-one tuition and reading or maths recovery. Teacher training and the continuous professional development of teachers would also be improved to ensure that all teachers learn how to recognise SEN and provide appropriate support.”

One of those stands out for me, although not for the right reasons.

4 Responses

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  1. Barbara Christie said, on April 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I see that a father of a disabled child had a go at David Cameron yesterday quoting his statement! Cameron then said that parents should have a choice of mainstream or special education which is a bit different.

  2. Matt at WelcometoIllinois said, on May 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I saw that. Cameron also made a statement during the last election debate saying that he was in favour of a choice of mainstream of special education, which to me seemed at odds with the statement above. At best it is badly worded, which is ironic since Cameron apprently wrote it himself.

  3. starrlife said, on February 4, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Just checking in to see if all is okay?

    • Matt at WelcometoIllinois said, on August 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks for asking. All good thanks. I just got bored of the blog, which – in hindsight – I think only really existed to help me come to terms with the diagnosis in my own way. So my boredom is a positive sign of acceptance. One day, when I can be bothered, I’ll explain what I mean.

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