MacKay (2002) notes that children with special needs are those who have conditions such as blindness, deafness, multiple impairments, physical impairments, behavior problems and learning difficulties among others. According to Etienne and Gendron (2008), inclusive education is a process that seeks to increase the participation of all students in schools, including students who have disabilities. It entails structuring policies, practices and cultures in schools so that they can respond to the diversity of their students. In the UK, Inclusive education acknowledges that all children need to be in schools and learn. The difference in children are also acknowledged and respected in inclusive education. The structures, methodologies and systems of education are enabled to meet the needs of all children, including those with disabilities (Glashan 2002). According to the Warnock report (1978), special education is considered a separate system of education whereby disabled children are educated in special schools. These schools are organized and equipped to meet their special educational needs. They operate on the basis that mainstream schools do not have the ability to address the needs of children who have special needs. Special education is usually provided in special schools that are equipped for catering to the needs of children with special needs (Leathwood, Ross, Moreau, Rollock & Williams 2008). According to the International for Policy Studies in Education (2008), education in the United Kingdom plays a very crucial role in maintenance and construction of equalities and social advantages. The Warnock report notes that education in the UK is currently compulsory for all children aged 5 to 16....
This essay declares that the perceptions of children with disabilities in the United Kingdom have had a shift in paradigm from the common medical model to social model then to the participative model. People with disabilities were for a long time viewed as patients with serious physical problems that are caused by diseases, accidents or other health conditions. This has changed to a more holistic approach in which they are considered as citizens with rights to self-determination and individual support. Many international conventions like the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities have been responsible for marking these paradigm shifts.
This paper makes a conclusion that a lot of the policies regarding the inclusion of children with special needs in UK mainstream primary schools are derived from the Warnock report. The report suggests that at any given time, at least 2% of the population in a school would be considered disabled and in need of specialist and specific provision. This level of specific specialty provision is normally provided within mainstream schools. The same report also noted that 10% of the population of children in schools requires specialist provision at some given point during their education. These two provisions have seen a lot of changes take place in the laws of UK with the aim of eliminating discrimination against children with special needs.