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Jarlath O'Brien has been a teacher for 15 years and has spent ten of those years working in special schools.  He has become increasingly frustrated at the lack of inerest in this sector and the varying quality of provision for children with learning difficulties and SEN in mainstream schools. 

Jarlath shares some of the problems he’s witnessed with inclusion and exclusion: mainstream schools actively encouraging children with SEND to look elsewhere, parents reporting their children have been formally or informally excluded from school and socially excluded by the parents of other children, children asked to leave their mainstream schools because of their behaviour – usually behaviour that is caused by their needs not being adequately addressed, children who are in school but isolated from their peers. If a child can’t participate in activities or trips with the rest of the class, or spends much of the day working one-to-one with a teaching assistant, is this really inclusion?

We need to acknowledge that this is not right; that such a state of affairs must change; and that we all have a part to play in making that change happen. Jarlath offers suggestions for politicians, Ofsted, local authorities, head teachers, SENCos, teachers and teaching assistants about what they can do to make a difference.

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