An investigation by the Gazette publishers into mainstream schooling for youngsters with special needs shows that Clydesdale and the rest of Scotland is far superior in providing this compared to England.
The JPIMedia study found that, while the number of kids with disabilities being confined to ‘special’ schools south of the border is increasing, locally the number of youngsters being included in ordinary schools has rocketed in recent years.
While our education authority, South Lanarkshire Council, has amongst the lowest Scottish proportion of special needs kids in mainstream schools at 25 per cent, that is STILL two and half times better than some London authorities!
Now, only about one in seven children in English mainstream primaries and one in eight children in mainstream secondaries have special needs.
In comparison, Scotland has seen a sharp rise in the number of children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) in mainstream education, following a drive for greater inclusion.
Anne Donaldson, Head of Education at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “South Lanarkshire has developed a range of provision for children and young people with additional support needs.
“This includes standalone special schools, units and bases co-located with mainstream schools, support classes integrated within mainstream schools and packages of support within mainstream classes tailored to individual children’s needs.
“The decision on the particular form of provision that would best meet the needs of an individual child is made on a multi-agency basis that includes parents at all stages.
“That decision takes into account the Scottish Government’s overarching policy to presume that all children should attend their local mainstream school unless circumstances rule this out.
“It also seeks to ensure that a child’s development and progress across a number of key areas is taken into account.”