I am firmly of the view that the current policy of ‘inclusion’ by the Department of Education has no educational, even altruistic, basis whatsoever. It is purely a cost-cutting exercise designed to crowd as many children as possible into one room with one over-extended teacher, whilst making redundant the special needs teacher, the remedial teacher and a host of SNAs. Why should inclusion be based on the arbitrary concept of chronological age?
Well done Fiona, another beautifully written and thought-provoking piece.
This is possibly my most favourite photograph of Ian, ever. It shows him interacting with two children who were two years younger than he was. Ian was 6, and they were both 4. At that time, and in that place, inclusion was perfect. Ian had undergone three years of intensive one-to-one therapy; now he was just a child, in a sea of children. A small sea, admittedly. Well, as there were only about eight of them, perhaps more of a jolly, chuckling puddle. But Ian slid in without a ripple, and they all got on very well. As I wrote in my book “The other, smaller, children accepted Ian with love and generosity. He was a gentle giant among them, towering over even the tallest child in the class, and when he took their toys from them, they took them right back with frowns and complaints. Ian learned the…
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