The inquiry by the Commons education select committee will investigate the impact of major reforms to the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system that were introduced four years ago through the Children and Families Act.
But The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) says the announcement of the committee’s inquiry – headed by disabled Tory MP and former education minister Robert Halfon – made no mention of inclusive education.
ALLFIE linked this with the Conservative party’s long-standing commitment to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools”.
In 2015, a year after the act was passed, the party boasted in its 2015 general election manifesto of how it had “created 2,200 more special schools places through our free schools programme”.
Tara Flood, ALLFIE’s director, said she was “deeply concerned, frustrated and angry” at the failure to mention inclusive education in the inquiry launch, which she said was not an accident or “ignorance” but a deliberate attempt to “avoid the issue”.
She said: “It is disingenuous of Halfon to have side-stepped the issue.”