SEN CAMPAIGNERS IN LEWISHAM PROTEST
Another lively lobby of parents and staff gathered outside Lewisham Town Hall on Wednesday October 3rd to protest against the Council’s proposals for the future of special needs in the borough.
After waiting five months for the results of supposedly ‘independent’ consultation, the Mayor and Cabinet were meeting to push through plans which parents and professionals have consistently warned could damage education for all pupils.
Campaigners from Brent Knoll, Pendragon and Meadowgate special schools are angry at the plans to relocate and reconfigure their provision without any detailed plans being provided which would show that the new sites will allow for sufficient specialist provision. Parent Debbie Lester, who has been working alongside us in building the ‘Defend Education in Lewisham Campaign’, explained her fears on a phone-in on Radio Five Live the following morning.
The programme also included opinions from several protestors, including my own. I explained why mainstream teachers feared such reorganisation plans were too often a mockery of inclusion. Children ended up being placed in mainstream classes without the staffing and support to meet their needs. As the NUT’s national research on the ‘Costs of Inclusion’ points out, ‘The presence of even one child with complex needs without relevant support and resourcing could be enough to upset the balance and flow of teaching for all’.