Tories May Educate Disabled Children in Separate Schools outside Mainstream
Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
DISABLED CHILDREN could be removed from mainstream schools and educated in segregated establishments for children with special needs under a Tory government.
The Conservatives have started a review of "inclusive" education, which encourages the teaching of disabled pupils alongside their able-bodied peers, in a move that will prove controversial among disability groups, which have campaigned for years for the right to access mainstream schools.
The review, announced by Paul Goodman, the party's spokesman on disability, will examine whether disabled pupils would receive more attention in schools for children with physical and learning disabilities.
A Conservative consultation document published this week asked: "Is the Government's policy of inclusive education for disabled children working, or are disabled children being physically included but educationally excluded?"
The Conservatives are also re-examining the Government's policy of providing financial support for employers that take on disabled staff and looking at Government funding for organisations that employ only disabled people.
The review is part of a drive to promote a more modern image with proposals that appeal to people from all backgrounds. The Tories will consult dozens of disability groups over the next two months to find solutions to "the many challenges faced by the disabled on a day-to-day basis".
Mr Goodman criticised the Government for holding only one full debate on disability since the last election. …