The Member of Parliament representing Margate's Royal School for Deaf Children has attacked Cabinet Minister Ruth Kelly for her "two-faced attitude" towards special needs education.
Speaking on the Commons` first day back at Westminster after the Christmas recess, Roger Gale said:
"So far as I am concerned any parent should have the right to act and use whatever resources are at their disposal in the best interests of their children. To that extent I have no problem with Ms. Kelly's decision to send her child to a fee-paying school.
Successive education Ministers, and Ms Kelly was one such, representing this Government have, though, done untold damage to Special Education Needs provision and the Royal School for Deaf Children in my constituency is a prime example of how Government policy can, through Ministerial vandalism, wreck centres of excellence.
In the name of "inclusion" Mr. Blunkett instigated what amounted to a vendetta against special schools. As a result, many children have been compelled, under wholly inappropriate conditions and with inadequate support and financial resource, to attend mainstream schools while specialist state and private schools have been starved of placements and funding. As a result, superb establishments with dedicated and highly trained staff have been forced to close, merge or, as in the case of the RSDC, downsize.
Skills have been lost and partially qualified or unqualified staff have taken over responsibilities that others have studied for years to be able to satisfy.
The RSDC is not the only North Thanet School to suffer. In Herne Bay the Hearing Impaired Unit at Hampton Primary School, a state school, was, as a result of Officers bending to DFeS diktat, effectively destroyed and a small but brilliant team dispersed.
These facilities, once lost, may never be restored and it is for this reason that there is a lack of opportunity to meet the needs of those like Ms. Kelly who suddenly find that they have to satisfy a domestic demand.
Basically, this Government, rotten to the very core, is saying "What the State provides is good enough for you but its not good enough for us".
I hope and believe that an incoming Conservative administration will first halt and then reverse the decline. "Inclusion" is a fine theory but the theory and the reality of real children are not always compatible"