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Too much sympathy for
disabled pupils ‘unhelpful’
by Sam Phipps
whether mainstreaming is working. “While training courses are likely ent part of the child and therefore when that sympathy dominates a Shona Pinkerton, principal
The policy, which makes it easier to add to teachers’ knowledge of they are less open to the idea that teacher’s attitude it is unhelpful, and of the National Autistic Society
for such children to attend stand- say, autism and ADHD, they don’t the child can make progress. can be counter-productive.” Scotland’s Daldroch House
Teachers who feel “overwhelmed ard schools, was introduced in 2000 really challenge their core beliefs. “We wanted to see how broader The study assessed teachers’ School and Continuing Education
with sympathy” for pupils with phys- under the former Scottish executive. Of course they do need to explain views about disability might con- responses to a series of multiple- Centre, said: “School can be
ical disabilities or learning difficulties Training courses are also failing the nature of such conditions, but nect with the views of mainstream choice questions. a scary place for a child with
can hamper their progress in the to change attitudes despite the con- they also need to challenge the role teachers and, in turn, how they Mainstreaming was intended to autism and a child can experience
classroom, researchers have found. siderable expense of running them, of the teacher and focus on what might interact with pupils who were give schools a better social mix. great anxiety and stress, which is
Staff at Strathclyde University the study found. children can do in the classroom. physically disabled or those with However, most teachers and some aggravated when teaching staff
assessed 199 Scottish teachers on Dr Lisa Woolfson, director “The teachers with higher sym- learning difficulties. parents argue that it has not worked, do not have the skills and knowl-
their sympathy levels and classroom of the Doctorate in Educational pathy scores tended to view learn- “Sympathy is a good thing, but with concerns rife about lack of edge to provide the appropriate
attitudes as part of a study to discover Psychology at Strathclyde, said: ing difficulties as more of an inher- what this study showed was that proper training. support.”
South Pole trio to meet
competition winners
Three year 8 students who won QinetiQ also provided teachers students when they presented to
a competition to design a jacket with subject guides, experiments the judges.
suitable for conquering the and quizzes for the classroom, She told SecEd: “They just had
Antarctic will get to meet three based on the science behind the so much to say, they had learnt a
real-life adventurers who have done team’s training and preparation for five-page script off by heart and
just that. the race. they answered the questions bril-
Later this month, Ben Fogle, After returning to the UK, the liantly – they really worked as a
James Cracknell and doctor Ed trio faced another tough challenge team.
Coats will spend a day at Hagley when they were asked to choose “They included lots of features
Catholic High School in the West the winner of QinetiQ’s Wrap up on the jacket, including a loop on
Midlands, meeting the winning stu- Warm competition, which chal- which to attach your gloves, which
dents and talking about their experi- lenged students to design a jacket was funny because Ed explained
ence of racing to the South Pole. to wear to the South Pole, and to them that he had actually lost
In January, the trio, under the which was organised in partner- his gloves at the beginning of the
name Team QinetiQ, completed ship with the British Science challenge.”
the Amundsen Omega 3 South Association. Mr Fogle added: “It’s great to
Pole Race in 18 days, five hours Three teams were chosen as see that our race to the South Pole
and 30 minutes, finishing second finalists and had to present their has helped to generate such enthu-
behind an experienced Norwegian designs, and the science behind siasm for learning about science
team. them, to Team QinetiQ at the recent and the Antarctic environment. I
They raced 464 miles in tem- Big Bang Fair in London. have been so impressed by all the
peratures as low as minus 40 Helen Cahill, Victoria Price designs.”
degrees, covering up to 43 miles and Cain McCaffrey-Stokes from Team QinetiQ is raising money
a day and pulling 70 kilogramme Hagley High were picked as for the children’s charity Sparks and
sleds. the winners, ahead of Ivybridge their journey has been filmed for a
More than 400 UK schools fol- Community College in Devon and documentary On Thin Ice which
lowed the adventure online, track- Sydenham High School in London. will be broadcast later this year on Made it! James Cracknell, Ben Fogle and Ed Coats at the South Pole and (inset) the win-
ing the team’s progress and access- Clare Hopkins, STEM club co- BBC2. ning team from Hagley Catholic High School pictured with Ben Fogle. They are (left to
ing daily audio blogs. ordinator at Hagley, was with the Visit right) Helen Cahill, Victoria Price and Cain McCaffrey-Stokes, all year 8 pupils
Pupils invited to give something back
MPs encourage
The founder of the MOBO awards
has backed the launch of a new
enterprise scheme that is encouraging
students to put something back into
youngsters to get
their local communities.
Schools around the country are
being invited to submit proposals
for a business that will add value to
on their bikes
their local community.
The organisers of the compe-
tition, Thomson Local, will then MPs are encouraging more pupils said: “Young people deserve
shortlist 50 schools who will each to walk or cycle to school. safe and affordable travel to
receive a £100 bursary to help stu- The House of Commons education, leisure and employ-
dents bring their business to life. Transport Select Committee ment. The journeys people make
Called Build a Business, the has told education and transport when young will influence their
initiative is backed by MOBO ministers that they must work preferences and habits in adult-
Awards founder and entrepreneur with schools, parents and stu- hood.
Kanya King, who has already dents to provide “innovative” “Both the Department for
recorded a video to promote the and “sustainable” alternatives to Children, Schools and Families
campaign. car travel. and the Department for Transport
It comes after a poll to back up The committee’s School urgently need to identify how
the launch showed that Sir Alan Travel report, published last they are going to ensure children
Sugar is the most admired business- month, recommends a move and young adults are not denied
man among students. He polled towards greater use of public opportunities because public
17 per cent of the votes, ahead of transport, dedicated school trans- transport is either inadequate or
Bill Gates and Virgin boss Richard port like American-style yellow too costly.
Branson. school buses, and initiatives pro- “In particular, travel should not
The competition will give each moting walking and cycling. present a barrier to accessing the
winning school access to a local busi- It acknowledged, however, new Diploma courses. For similar
ness “hero”, who will mentor and that the introduction of 14 to reasons, much more should be
advise students on their business. 19 Diplomas presents addition- done to identify children eligible
In addition, Thomson will help al challenges because students for free school transport.”
each school build a website for their never looked back. Not only am For more information and to see Business brain: MOBO often need to travel to other sites At the moment, a third of
business and showcase the students’ I doing something I love, I’m my the promotional video filmed by Awards founder Kanya within a Diploma consortium. youngsters travel to school by car
work on a dedicated microsite. own boss and can see first-hand Ms King at Oxted County School King with 6th-formers from Transport Select Committee or van, with 47 per cent walking
Ms King said: “I launched my what impact my business has on the in Surrey, visit www.thomsonlocal. Surrey at the launch of the chairman, Louise Ellmann, and nearly two per cent cycling.
own business in 1996 and have people around me.” com/buildabusiness Build a Business scheme
4 SecEd • April 2 2009
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