Charity’s figures are very ‘hard hitting’

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Beth Morrison, who has been campaigning for support in schools for children with disabilities, has been back at the Scottish Parliament.

Beth was at Holyrood last week on behalf of parents of The Special Needs Children Angus & Dundee support group.

The visit to parliament was part of a call for the Scottish Government to lead on “systemic change” of the education system from charity ENABLE’s report - IncludED in the Main?! 22 steps on the journey to inclusion.

Beth explained: “A number of our families supported and were part of the ENABLE Scotland Included in the Main campaign. ENABLE Scotland have been gathering information all year and have had over 800 responses. They have also supported my petition in Holyrood asking for National Guidance on the use of Restraint and Seclusion in schools caring for disabled children.”

Theresa Shearer and Jan Savage from ENABLE Scotland addressed MSPs and told them how children with disabilities were being unlawfully excluded in schools.

Beth continued: “They confirmed that they too have been hearing horrific stories of school staff using restraint and physical intervention in schools. They too have been hearing about the use of isolation rooms in schools.

“The long and the short of it is that children with disabilities are not getting the support they need in our schools in order for them to be fully included. Owing to cuts in education budgets, staff are losing their jobs, not getting the training they need or the support they deserve. How can they possibly cope under these conditions? The answer is that they can’t and the children suffer.

“Children in Angus & Dundee with disabilities are often excluded from going on school trips, many are not allowed in the school playground or even allowed to stay for school lunch! We also know of children who cannot go to school full time because the support is just not there for them. Its all hidden, nothing is recorded and the effect this has on children and their families is devastating.

“The figures published by ENABLE are hard hitting. We are definitely not getting it right for every child. The PISA figures released this week show that since 2000 for the first time, Scotland’s all three subject areas are simply “average” with none “above average”. We are no longer star pupils. If we cannot address the attainment gap for typically developing children we have no chance of meeting the care or education needs of children with disabilities.”