How Inclusive is the English Education System – What do Government Statistics tell us about the last 15 years?
New Labour came to power in 1997 supporting the development of inclusive education in the Green Paper Excellence for All Children (1997), The Action Plan(1998) and the SEN and Disability Act 2001. However, they also split off young people with challenging behaviour into separate Behaviour Policies and set up Pupil Referral Units where children had to be off the roll of their school and later educated full time if their behaviour required it. In early 2003 the Government signalled a change of policy with the Special School Working Group which has led to the building of new and larger special schools replacing smaller schools. In addition, the emphasis laid on developing inclusive education in the first 5 years of Government has reverted to a ‘parental choice model’ that fits in with the increasing marketisation of schools with the setting up of Academies and more Foundation schools. This is reflected in ‘Removing Barriers to Achievement’, the Governments current 5 year strategy for SEN