04 SES 11 C, The Irresistible Rise of the Special Educational Needs Industry
Within Scottish social policy, there is a strong commitment to the principles of universalism. Children with additional support needs are seen as a group requiring extra resources, but decisions on the nature of that support and which groups should be prioritised has been left to professionals, with little input from parents or children. Published statistics are generally used to suggest that steady progress is being made towards inclusion of children with additional support needs in mainstream schools. A low proportion of pupils are placed in separate special schools (about 1% of the total of the pupil population with no change for more than 40 years). Government statistics show that a growing proportion of children with additional support needs are placed in mainstream schools, and that, over a five year period, a lower proportion of pupils are being excluded. However, the expansion of children with additional support needs in mainstream may be attributed to a growth in the pupils who are counted as falling into this category, rather than a shift of children from special to mainstream settings. This paper explores explanations for the current expansion of the additional support needs population, and describes the growth of hidden forms of exclusion.
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