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Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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1.1 Separate or together?

Despite the national and international commitment to inclusive education, many parents find it difficult to secure a mainstream place for their child and are encouraged to seek places in special schools.

Since 2005, the number of children in segregated settings in England has actually been rising. Richard Rieser (2017), from World of Inclusion (an organisation that promotes inclusive education), argues that this is becoming more common-place for two main reasons:

  • cuts to school budgets which are making it more difficult for mainstream schools to offer the support that children with special education needs require
  • the Government’s commitment to setting up more special school academies and special free schools to support ‘parental choice’.

OU academics John Parry et al. (2013) have suggested that delivering good inclusive education can be difficult in part because of the historical legacy of special education. This is covered in the next section.