Some children in schools have what are known as Special Educational Needs. These are the children who need varying degrees of support to help them learn. Some also have physical disabilities to contend with. If they were in special schools, they would have all the extra support to hand - physiotherapy, toileting facilities, speech therapy etc. However, current thinking maintains that it is more beneficial to most children to be in mainstream education, unless they have severe physical or learning problems. (It's called inclusion.)
A good point, except that mainstream schools, ordinary neighbourhood primary schools, do not have the same pupil/teacher ratio, nor do they have access to anywhere near the same level of other professional support. While it is good for special needs children and other children alike to have time together, perhaps this arrangement does not benefit the former to quite the same extent.
Still, our ordinary mainstream schools are able to call on the support of professionals such as the Local Authority Support Service, speech therapists, occupational therapists, educational psychologists, aren't they?
Not exactly. Speech and occupational therapists, physiotherapists and the like are in constant short supply - so much so that children have to be seen on a rota basis.
Well, they apparently come from a different planet and are also in short supply. In fact good ones seem to be very hard to find. The best one can hope for in the real world is one with whom the class teacher can build up such a relationship that she can 'tell him what to think'. In practical terms, this means that the Ed. Psych.
1)comes in to discuss and observe a designated child. (It is a bonus if he can focus on the correct child.)
2)asks the class teacher for her opinion on
a) the problem
b) the required course of action.
3) Goes away and writes his report regurgitating information gleaned from the class teacher.
N.B. If he is really lucky, the said class teacher will have written down her thoughts, observations and opinions, so all he needs is a scanner and printer!
In the past, at least, if his report was relevant to the child's needs, the result would be increased funding to pay for classroom support or necessary resources. Now, we are lucky if the school even gets that.
Improvement through Inclusion? I don't think so!