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By Malcolm Armsteen
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I think it's time we looked at this in detail.

The Guardian has a piece by Michael Rosen which needs sharing: ... hael-rosen
Let me put it this way: children with special educational needs are not a separate category. They aren’t a problem. They’re not an extraterrestrial event we have to make allowances for. They are not even a “they”. They are us. We exist as a totality of human beings in all our states of being, in all our various ways of surviving on this planet. When you or I talk of education, this can never exclude, marginalise, or downgrade any group because it has been prejudged as less worthy or less deserving. Yes, we talk of “special” needs, but really they are “our needs”, the needs of our society to be a society for all of us. I hope that’s the attitude of everyone at the Department for Education, and you, too.

When you talked of a “fresh look”, you and I know this was triggered entirely by what everyone knows is a crisis. There are reminders every week. A crisis in provision. And everyone knows this crisis has been caused by the preposterous idea that something you people call the “British economy” (as if all we British have equal parts of it and all get the same out of it) could be “saved” by stopping us having decent public services. Cynically and cruelly you people cut back where you thought there would be least resistance. Guess who that included? Children with special educational needs.
Special needs education breaking our budgets, warn councils
Read more

What “fresh look” did you need in order to find out what’s happened? You have armies of inspectors, accountants, testers, regional commissioners and performance monitors checking every time a child puts pen to paper and we are supposed to believe that you’re going to find out something you didn’t already know.

Nevertheless, you diverted a DfE squad on an expedition to discover something. What? That the hundreds of protests from parents, carers, teachers, teaching assistants and children are wrong? Or that we don’t really know that the provision has been cut? Or that families have not had to go to court to get funding for their child? Or that we weren’t reading the papers in 2010 when politicians announced they were going to cut public services?

Or is it that this whole charade of a “fresh look” and “best understanding” was so you could conjure up a lash-up intended to assuage the rage of people who have been petitioning and demonstrating, until they can petition and demonstrate to your successor?
followed by this letter, which to me sums up the problem completely:
I found Michael Rosen’s words (Education, 23 July) regarding children with special needs – “They are us. We exist as a totality of human beings in all our states of being, in all our various ways of surviving on this planet” – inspiring. But what hope is there of them affecting politicians raised on Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman?
John Davies
East Morton, Keighley
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