The Education Additional Support For Learning Act
(in Scotland) 2004, coming into effect Nov 2005, creates an entitlement for children passing through decisions on educational needs, to have their own views taken and consulted with. The expanded variety of needs that have come into recognition since the last act in 1980, and the harmful experiences of authoritarian education that preceded their recognition, compelled MSPs to accept this reform.
It means the children and parents, in order to express their views, are entitled for all experiential evidence on past failiures of school practice and their results, to be publicly known, or else they would suffer disability discrimination. There follows an automatic right to publish these things.
“special needs education” is a label that some have always found objectionable, because it covers children of normal intelligence with social adjusting troubles and simultaneously covers learning disability. This kind of uncomfortable feeling lay behind the swing, around 1980, to seeking integration into ordinary schools, of children with behavioural or other coping problems, or curricular difficulties. the government report recommending this move was made under the chairmanship of Mary Warnock.
Now (still around in the Lords), she has said the application of this ideal has become too ideological and applied rigidly without thinking whether it fits each case. She hasn’t said the ideal was always misguided, but she has had a change of heart over it based on its results. On radio 4 “The Westminster Hour” Oct 2, she has called it cruelty to send a child with Asperger Syndrome to a large secondary school. It’s an incompatible environment to cope with.
Now that has been said, the effects of the cruelty on its past subjects has a claim to be dealt with in any way that they indicate affects their present lives. It also affects the sum of knowledge available for applying to present children. All politicians need to give their positions on how this shall be organised and the information centrally pooled for reference. the likes of Children In Scotland need to push them to.