CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES are being side-lined and left at times without any real education at all
That is a view being promoted by ENABLE Scotland – and supported by regional Tory MSP Douglas Ross this week.
Mr Ross attended a reception at the Scottish Parliament where he heard ENABLE Scotland highlighting their most recent report ’22 Steps on the Journey to Inclusion’ – and left convinced that the Parliament could not and should not ignore the ‘elephant in the room’ any longer.
The ‘elephant in the room’ is a recent survey that revealed hundreds of children, parents and teachers have spoken out to say that the Scottish education system is leaving pupils who have learning disabilities side-lined and at times without an education.
Following the reception, Douglas said: “I was pleased to attend the reception as I fully support the vital work being done by ENABLE to ensure the inclusion of pupils both in the classroom and the wider school environment.
“It’s a shame that inclusion is still an aspiration for many youngsters in schools throughout Scotland rather than a reality this means opportunities are still being denied to many.
“In Moray I meet and work with the local ENABLE branch on many issues. They work tirelessly to ensure that children and young people who have learning disabilities are included in all aspects of school life and it is important that we seek assurances that informal exclusions are not taking place in our local schools.
“School days, as we are often told, are the best days of our lives and it’s important that all our youngsters can fully integrate in both the classroom and the extra-curricular activities that make the school experience so special and important to so many people.”
Jan Savage from Enable Scotland added: “It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room and confirm what most teachers, parents and children have said privately for a very long time.
“The presumption to mainstream policy was designed to deliver inclusion – it hasn’t. It has resulted in more children being educated in the same classroom, which is an important first step. But 16 years on, we can also now see that it has taken specialist expertise out of the Scottish education system, and left young people who have learning disabilities side lined.
“Pupils have told us that they feel bullied, isolated and excluded. Parents have told us they feel frustration that the system is not working. And, importantly, teachers feel untrained, unsupported, and stressed. 800 of them have spoken to ENABLE Scotland about how they feel.
“It’s time to listen, take stock, and then act to ensure that we are getting it right for every child, in every classroom, in Scotland.”