She likewise strongly suggested that adequate training of staff and teachers is needed to improve the quality of mainstreaming and inclusion practices.
The Audit Commission Report (2002) found that there is a gap between policy and practice, citing several cases of British schools where the duty to mainstream education is absent where the education of a child with SEN is incompatible with the rest. The same report discovered that children with SEN experienced greater or lesser difficulty in gaining admission to their school of choice.
Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties had most problems, followed by children with ADHD, and then those with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). The report findings are supported by Sage (2004) and Wright (2003) but not by Wilkins et al. (2004).
Despite the widespread adoption of policies on mainstreaming, and more recently on inclusive education for children and young people with SEN, little is actually known about the relationship between what teachers think about such policies and the type of learning environments they provide.
A study (Monsen & Frederickson, 2004) in New Zealand involving 63 primary school teachers and 1,729 pupils concluded that children taught by teachers who espoused highly positive attitudes towards mainstreaming were found to have significantly higher levels of classroom satisfaction and marginally lower levels of classroom friction that children taught by teachers with less positive attitudes.
MacKay (2002) challenged many of the prevailing trends in relation to disability and special education needs. Taking a broad view of developments since Warnock, and providing a fascinating insight into initiatives in Scotland, Gilbert MacKay offered an analysis of five ways in which the notion of disability, and the practical reality of our responses to it, are being unhelpfully removed from the educational arena.
Whilst all can strive to promote forms of inclusion that encompass ever-widening parameters of diversity, no one's interests are served if the implications of individuals' difficulties are simply ignored or wished away. MacKay highlighted dangers in some recent trends but also points the way towards a much more responsive and productive future.
Several recent research studies have come out on the experience of inclusion and mainstreaming in British education. Simmons and Bayliss (2007) discussed the role of special schools and the practicality of segregation. Carpenter (2007) focused on the role of schools as research organisations. Whitehurst (2007) emphasised the importance of learning about the experiences of the children who are the object of mainstreaming practices. Keil et al. (2006) came up with enlightening research findings on SEN and disability. Frederickson et al. (2007) assessed the social and affective outcomes of inclusion.
Lindsay (2003) addressed the development of inclusion and inclusive practices, models of special educational needs and disability, and the values that underpin thinking about these matters. Basing his argument on the research evidence, Lindsay provides a searching critique of prevailing notions about inclusion and of current approaches to research. His conclusions will be of interest to everyone concerned with the education of children and young