Double standards in education reform?

lscott80(UK) Lesley Scott looks at the drive to close the educational attainment gap, and examines if disabled people are being left behind


Extracts from an article in TFN 29/9/19:

“It would appear, however, that this ‘equality of opportunity’ does not extend to those children and young people already disadvantaged through no fault of their own, but who have the very great misfortune to suffer from a chronic illness.”

“For these young people, physically getting to the school building is too much for them, let alone taking part in any lessons when they get there. Many local authorities do not offer home tuition, where teaching staff from the child’s school or from the local authority would come out to the home for one-to-one lessons; in some cases, home tuition depends on the good will of the teaching staff in the young person’s school. Other local authorities who do offer home tuition only provide sparse coverage, sometimes as little as 1 hour a week.”

“How can local authorities so blatantly fail in their duty to these young people causing a “loss of opportunity or the diminished progress” of a disabled child compared to their healthy counterparts, without facing any censure. The double standard is self-evident: a parent who takes the decision to keep their very sick child at home in order to prioritise recovery of their health, while the school and local authority fail to offer any provision that will not have a detrimental effect on that child’s health, can very quickly find themselves hauled before the Children’s Panel with threats of removing the child due to failure to attend school. This can have a traumatic effect on families.”

“If education is truly the great equalizer then the Scottish Government should support efforts to bring parity to the Scottish system for chronically ill young people by utilising existing virtual education platforms and bringing an end to educational discrimination of the sick and attacks on loving parents.”

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