LEAs across England have shown very little progress towards inclusion nationally, according to a report from the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE).*
New statistics show that between 2002 and 2004 one third of LEAs actually increased what the CSIE calls the ‘segregation of disabled pupils’, revealing what the centre describes as ‘disturbing local variations’ in placements across the country.
The report’s analysis of government data reveals, for instance, that pupils in South Tyneside were 24 times more likely to be placed in special schools or other segregated settings than those in the London Borough of Newham in 2004. Newham LEA, which has actively pursued a policy of inclusion in education for 21 years, placed 0.06% of its 0-19 year olds with statements in special schools and other segregated settings, while South Tyneside placed 1.46%.
Mark Vaughan, CSIE codirector, said: ‘All LEAs are working to the same laws and regulations, which call for inclusion of disabled pupils. It is time for the government to take a firmer hand and get the higher segregating authorities to develop stronger inclusion policies. If Newham can do it with academic and social success, then so can every other authority.’
He added: ‘In 2005 there are very many people in this country who regret the slow pace of inclusion in schools and families in particular are disturbed by the postcode lottery of segregation/inclusion for their disabled children. Inclusion of disabled pupils is a human rights issue, not a passing fashion, in spite of the current, heated, national debate prompted by Baroness Warnock. It is simply unfair and unjust for families that moves towards inclusion have been so slow, and that these variations still exist 22 years after the law to include disabled pupils in mainstream education first came into force’.
CSIE has written to Ruth Kelly MP, secretary of state at the Department for Education and Skills, about these latest findings, calling for the government to publicly restate its commitment to inclusion in education, and to ensure appropriate incentives and finances are available for schools and LEAs to make the necessary changes to reduce segregation. In England as a whole, little progress towards inclusion was made during the period under review – 2002-04. The national percentage of 0-19 year olds placed in special schools and other segregated settings by LEAs in England fell from 0.84% in 2002 (103,721 pupils) to 0.82% in 2004 (101,612 pupils).
Segregation Trends – LEAs in England 2002-2004. Placement of Pupils with Statements in Special Schools and Other Segregated Settings. Report written by Dr Sharon Rustemier and Mark Vaughan OBE. Available from CSIE, price £15.00 (incl. UK p+p) ISBN: 1 872001 483. CSIE is an independent education centre and charity supporting inclusion and challenging exclusion
List of low segregating LEAs
LEAs with lowest percentages of 0-19 year old pupils in special schools and other segregated settings in 2004: Newham 0.06 Rutland 0.23 Nottinghamshire 0.45 Nottingham 0.47 Cumbria 0.49 Barnsley 0.50 East Riding of Yorkshire 0.50 Havering 0.51 Herefordshire 0.51 Kensington & Chelsea 0.51 Cornwall 0.52 Somerset 0.52 Leicestershire 0.54 Leeds 0.55
List of high segregating LEAs
LEAs with highest percentages of 0-19 year old pupils in special schools and other segregated settings in 2004: South Tyneside 1.46 Wirral 1.34 Halton 1.32 Knowsley 1.32 Stoke-on-Trent 1.23 Birmingham 1.21 Lewisham 1.21 Brighton & Hove 1.20 Manchester 1.16 Middlesbrough 1.16 Rotherham 1.16 Coventry 1.15 Torbay 1.14
North Tyneside 1.11