A Practically Guide to Equal Opportunities

The Disabled Persons Act (1970) expanded the disability categories of the Education Act (1944) by adding in one more definition to include children with a severe mental handicap or children that could not be educated. The Warnock Report (1978) was a turning point in the education of children with disabilities. The Warnock Report (1978) helped to review educational provision in the UK for children with special educational needs. It looked at the child’s medical provision and the most effective resources to help the child reach its full potential.

The Warnock Report (1978) also helped to identify lack of resources within the school and set up assessments to identify the needs of children. In the report, it states that 20 % of children will need special education help at sometime during their school life. This is a figure that has never been challenged in the last twenty-five years but at present, there are only 2 % of children receiving special educational provision. What is happening to the other 18 % of the children who are in mainstream education and are not receiving the help needed?

These children are suffering, as they are unable to reach their full potential and are so disempowered as. These children go unnoticed by the system and are sometime the ones that can be recognised as having a learning disability if their behaviour was just observed and not dismissed. Children With learning disabilities that go unnoticed tend to have certain behavioural characteristics, such as being the class clown, quiet and withdrawn, aggressive when asked questions, will make up excuses or feign illness when asked to do a task and will lose work on purpose.

Children like these tend to be labelled and put into categories by the school such as troublemaker, just quiet or just lazy and forgetful. One of the most important things to come out of the Warnock Report (1978) was the recommendation that provision for special educational needs should “wherever possible” be met within a mainstream school Roger (1988) point out the reports statement that ” Teachers and parents should be committed to the principle of integration and be well prepared for the tasks involved ”

Prior to the Warnock Report (1978), the Education Act (1976) had tried to attempt to reform the relation to special needs. However, it was the education act (1981) states Hegarty (1987) which provided a radical departure from previous trends and legislation “Under the Education Act (1944), local authorities were expected to provide for handicapped pupils in special schools and were merely allowed to do so in normal schools if circumstances permitted.

The Education Act (1981) exactly reverses this situation, the ordinary school is declared to be the normal place of education for all pupils and special schools are only to be used when necessity so dictates” John Fish (1985) chair of the inner London education authority stated that the aims and objectives of education for children and young people with disabilities and significant handicaps are the same as those for all children and young people. Nevertheless, exclusion in schools still happens.

Children with special educational needs are still facing certain degrees of separation and thus can then stop the child forming bonds with his peers as he is being segregated and feels singled out. Stuart has specific learning difficulties especially with his fine motor skills. His teacher has requested that he should seek help from an occupational therapist to help him to develop his fine motor skills so it can aid with his writing. The way in which some children go to their lesson with their special needs teacher can be very demeaning and can be a great source of embarrassment.

The teacher will go round the classes and call out the child or group of children who are to attend that particular lesson at that time. The school, which Stuart attends, involves going to visit a puppet and to a boy of eight this is embarrassing and drives a bigger wedge between Stuart and his peers, as he has been the subject of ridicule and name-calling from his peers. Stuart has been attending lesson like that since he was six years old and the teachers have started to see an improvement in Stuarts work in his reading.

His writing is not up to the standard that it should be. The teachers are now contemplating whether to stop his reading classes altogether. Stuart has been assessed and is currently having his statement drawn up. When a child is being assessed their should be factors that have to be taken into account so the child can have a fair and accurate assessment done. These factors should be the medical condition of the child, the emotional and psychological factors as Stuart is a highly-strung emotional child.

The child family background and social class, if the child is living in a sub standard house and the family finances is the child’s family living on the breadline or do they come from an ethnic minority community. Statements come in five stages and must be done within a certain period. The SEN Codes of Practice (2002) must not be ignored by the school, LEA, or those who work in partnership with them including the NHS and social services. This is also in accordance with the SEN and Disability act (2001)

The SEN Codes of Practice (2002) Strives to include parents as much as they can in their child’s education. The practice is known as parent as partners this is were the parent should have constant feedback from the school and vice versa, they should let the school know if anything is happening in the child’s life. Parents play an important part in the child’s life and should do so in their education as they are the ones who know the child better than anybody and should know if their child is unhappy.

One of the most important parts as parents as partners is that they establish a good relationship with the multi practice team i. e. school, G. P and social workers. This could then help ensure that thing run smoothly and to try and stop the breakdown in communication. This has not been the case for Stuart and his parents as he has just moved over to junior school and he has had three different social workers in eighteen months so wires keep getting crossed and everything seems to have to start straight from the beginning again.

With moving over, he has now acquired new teachers and a new Senco so they are still in the process of establishing a trusting relationship with his new teachers and social workers. What does Stuart have to look forward to in the future in a statement made by Middleton (1999) “as a group of disabled children as not conceptualised as future economically contributing citizens, despite the fact that many disabled adults are successful and pay taxes as a consequence.

Both they and the rest of society are conditioned to believe that disability equates with tragedy, burden and dependency”. What that quote seems to be saying is that disabled people are brought up to believe that they would never be able to establish themselves in society as equals. They will have to work twice as hard to get to the top but this is not always possible, “Expectations about progression up the career ladder and beyond achieving a non dependent status are rare for disabled children. Thus special education became a form of social control” (Ford, 1992)

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