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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Does anyone know if this is true?

(25 Posts)
pixel Wed 16-Mar-05 16:24:04

According to a letter in a newspaper today from a mother whose son's special school is threatened with closure, there has been a campaign launched by the Alliance for Inclusive Education and Disability Equality in Education, to close all special schools by 2020. The mother apparently came across this information on an epilepsy website and was horrified to discover that Comic Relief was listed as a supporter of this cause. In her words "it would seem that, in raising money for red nose day, special schools up and down the country were helping to fund an organisation seeking their destruction".

I wonder if anyone else has heard about this. I assumed that the closure of special schools was a short-sighted cost-cutting exercise on the part of the government (with a bit of politically correct 'inclusion at all costs' policy thrown in). I didn't realise there were people actually campaigning to achieve it, and receiving charity money to do so.

I'm not sure that Comic Relief would support something like this as I've seen programmes where they have funded hydrotherapy pools etc for special schools, so I have sent them an email to ask if it is true and explaining why I think special schools are so important.

Just wondered what you all thought.

coppertop Wed 16-Mar-05 16:28:15

I don't know but I'll be watching this thread with interest.

Merlot Wed 16-Mar-05 16:32:48

I dont know either, but there is definitely an organisation of that name in existence as I've just googled it.

Will be watching with interest too.

Jimjams Wed 16-Mar-05 16:37:10

this link will get you the info you need- go to home and also the sister websites. I see a bunch of comics are doing a fundraiser.

Scope are closing a special school in my city. it caters for 11 PMLD children. And repiste for other children. They have said that they will provide some money from the sale of the land to aid inclusion. Some of these children are tube fed ffs. One girl I know is developmentally behind my 10 week old! Inclusion? MS won't coope with nappies let alone tube feeding!

Inclusion can work in some cases. It was a complete non-starter for my son- and had he been in a less caring school real damage could have been done. The difference with the special school is immense.

Jimjams Wed 16-Mar-05 16:38:37

here you go the 2020 campaign . Clearly barking mad or they've never met my son.

coppertop Wed 16-Mar-05 16:44:20

From what I can see on that link, this campaign is being led by adults who had bad experiences at special schools when they were children. I know very little about special schools but I do know that even mainstream schools have changed a great deal over the last 20 or so years. I would imagine that special schools have too?

I agree that it's complete madness. Inclusion seems to be working well for ds1 and I imagine that ds2 will also do well. However, IMHO mainstream is not the right environment for all children with SN.

Jimjams Wed 16-Mar-05 16:50:21

exactly coppertop. And my son isn't going to grow up as someone with a voice- he's never going to be abe to cope with mainstream life, so how on earth could he cope with mainstream school. His special school do things like take him to cafes, he has daily sensory sessions, and every activity revolves around communication communication communication (for example a maths lesson 2 weeks ago- in soft play, they were given worksheets with symbols telling them to fetch a cylinder cylinder cylinder, wedge, cube etc and one sahpe that they could choose (quite probably requested using PECS), then they had to build them up (adults using the phrases bigger than and higher than) and then they had to "sneeze" the shapes down (their book this term is the big sneeze). What a fantastic lesson!!! How could mainstream begin to do that.

pixel Wed 16-Mar-05 17:11:47

My God, they've actually used the term 'special school survivors'! My ds wouldn't 'survive' 5 minutes in a mainstream school. If his special school were to close I would be forced to educate him as best I could at home. This would mean that a forced 'inclusion' policy would result in my son being completely segregated from his peers. Where's the logic in that?

Merlot Wed 16-Mar-05 17:17:17

This beggars belief How can mainstream schools be suitable for ALL special needs.

Severely mentally/physically handicapped children would never survive, let alone thrive in a mainstream classroom? Ludicrous

pixel Wed 16-Mar-05 17:18:51

Don't get me wrong, I agree with inclusion for those who want it, and believe that schools should be made physically and educationally accessible for those people (and that attitudes should change so that they feel accepted). But it's not that simple is it? Anyone would think that all a school needs to do is provide a wheelchair ramp and there you are! All the disabled kiddies can be just like everyone else!

MeerkatsUnite Wed 16-Mar-05 17:28:18

Unbelievable that this has been taken up as a cause.

I see the words "human rights" have been mentioned in their statement. What about the human rights of such children who need to attend special needs schools?.

My son has a statement and is in mainstream. This set up works well for him BUT there's no way these people should turn around after they've been through the system and say "oh lets close all the special needs schools down". God, even the mothers at school who could not bring themselves to even utter the word "autism" could come up with such an ill thought out and hare brained scheme.

pixel Wed 16-Mar-05 17:38:15

I feel a bit sick now to think how much effort we made with red nose day this year. What with supporting fundraising events at two schools, buying the merchandise etc and dh raised £500 on a sponsored Karaoke. Then when I was reduced to tears by the little african children who had lost their parents I went on line and gave some more and dd gave her birthday money. I still agree that those are good causes and I'm glad to help but it's a bit of a kick in the teeth to find you've unwittingly supported something you are so strongly against. Seems a bit underhand to me that they are willing to accept donations from special schools as well.

Gwenick Wed 16-Mar-05 17:41:23

hmm tricky one - I DON'T agree with the cause at all - BUT there are lots of causes which I don't agree with which comic relief probably supports - but I know that before donating to them so make my decision on the fact that 'most' of what they support (and when there's 10's of millions of £'s all together spread over so many different charities and casues difficult not to find 'something').

maddiemo Wed 16-Mar-05 17:43:59

I remember my Portage worker raging about the damage David Blunkett had caused to special schools based on his own experience.

I have also heard of the group parents for inclusion. It is such a shame that people are unable to recognise that each child has individual needs and must have an eductaion provided to suit their need rather than a government policy.

My ds is one of the children affected by changes in provision. My LEA is coy about the term closure, preferring to reconfigure specialist education and force children out by making provision so unsuitable for their needs that the parent is forced to opt for mainstream inclusion.

My ds is likely to end up in a mainstream in the year 2006/7. From where I am at the moment, educationally speaking his future is bleak. I will no doubt go to tribunal at some point.

pixel Wed 16-Mar-05 17:51:55

I do agree Gwenick and we will probably donate next time too. This just came as a bit of a shock to me today. I could never have imagined that people would see closing special schools as a GOOD thing!

anniebear Wed 16-Mar-05 21:03:41


They would have to have Nurses in every School, Lots of Teachers/assistants in every class and so so many more facilities than they have now.

I am just thinking of all the different needs of different needs of the 8 children in Ellies SN class.

David Blunkett says...

"I desperately missed the hugging and affection of home .... this deprivation had a lasting effect on me well into adult life"

Ellie is given so much love, hugs kisses and affection at her SN School.

These people need to go around and have a look at SN Schools and see what they are like nowadays... bet they haven't

How can They try to close them down because of the way Adults were treated YEARS ago. Things will have so changed by then.

anniebear Wed 16-Mar-05 21:06:22

sorry, meant 'things will have so changed since then'

Its 9.07...past my bedtime!!!!

rivers Wed 16-Mar-05 21:07:14

Hi Jimjams, in your earlier post you said that MS couldn't cope with tube fed children, why do you think this is? My DD is tube fed and due to go to mainstream school in Sep and I am v.concerned about how this will work out, have you ever seen any children that are tube fed successfully placed in MS school?

anniebear Wed 16-Mar-05 21:20:57

Well I e mailed them with the below......

I can't believe some of what I have read on this site.

I do not wish to join, Please do not put me on your mailing list. I just found no other way of e mailing you.

Have you been to SN Schools recently? My Daughter goes to one and is loved,cared and taught in such a lovely way.

If, at the moment, she went to Mainstream, she would cause havoc. And miss out on all the wonderful opportunities she has now.

All these Adults who had a bad time in SN Schools? This was years ago, surely things have changed since then?

So, David Blunkett says.........

"I desperately missed the hugging and affection of home .... this deprivation had a lasting effect on me well into adult life"..

Again, that was years ago. How many Adults who used to go to Mainstream Schools could tell you some Horror Stories?

The range of needs would be vast. The Mainstream Schools would need lots of Nurses, The facilities would have to be hugely changed and would the other children suffer because of the attention and time a LOT of the SN children may take?

I urge you to come and take a look at my Daughters SN School. You could not think for a minute that some of those children could go to Mainstream.

mamadadawahwah Thu 17-Mar-05 14:25:08

"how can mainstream schools cater for special needs?" you ask. They dont care!!! Thats the bottom line. This is happening all over the states and canada. Day centres are closing, schools in canada are eliminating "junior" high school", grades 7-9 and putting 11 year olds in high school with 18 year olds. Its all about money. They dont give a damn.

Jimjams Thu 17-Mar-05 14:36:12

sorry rivers didn't mean to scare you- I 'm not sure why your dd is tube fed. In the case of these children the tube feeding is part of a wider picture of these children being extremely severely disabled (PMLD) - they need physio and sensory "lessons" not to be in a ms classroom, they're still in nappies etc.

What other problems does your dd have? There isn't any particular reason that a ms school shouldn't be able to cope with tube feeding providing they have the facilities for cleanliness etc. IME they do not cope well (at all?) with nappies etc

If the problem was only a feeding one I wouldn't have too many concerns given an understanding school. If it was part of a wider picture of a complex child I would worry. MS schools serve the average well, they're not so good with complex.

Sorry - really didnt mean to scare you- a sloppy use of words.

Jimjams Thu 17-Mar-05 14:37:06

It's usual for 11 year olds to be in with 18 year olds in the UK mamadada

pixel Thu 17-Mar-05 16:40:13

At dd's school the staff are not allowed to so much as put on a plaster in case a child develops a mild rash. Dd once came home with a nasty wound to her knee which was all yellow and sticky by the time we had managed to soak off the horrid bit of cotton wool they'd used. (I was not happy). When I refused to buy the school photo on the grounds that it was an absolute mess (dd had crossed the playground in the rain to get to photographer)I was told that staff aren't allowed to comb the childrens' hair even if they have their own comb.

I wonder if anyone can explain how these same staff are suddenly going to be able to change nappies, administer medication, handle a child who strongly resists even putting on his shoes? At ds's school he gets love and comfort when he is upset and sits on the teacher's lap. It's one of the reasons he has settled in so well. I can't see that happening in mainstream.

coppertop Thu 17-Mar-05 19:09:09

I think the group is very naive if they think that the closure of special schools will mean that the money is given to mainstream schools instead. Look at how many special schools have already been closed yet the m/s SN departments are crying out for more funding. How many times do we hear of schools being reluctant to give extra help and resources because they can't afford it?

rivers Thu 17-Mar-05 22:46:29

Hi Jimjams, My DD is tube fed due to lack of experience of eating and also has a tracheostomy. She understands everything but has no speech. Don't worry you didn't scare me as I already have major concerns about her coping in MS but because her problems are complex physical needs I don't know where she would be better placed (but that is a whole new thread!!).

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