John Harris

Journalist & Author

The sinister segregation policies excluding children who don’t ‘fit in’ | John Harris

I thought ignorant prejudice against disabled people and those with special needs was on the way out. But this government is turning back the clock to a nastier age

Human progress is slow to happen and sometimes hard to see: in an era as troubled as ours, the world can easily look as though it is regressing at speed. But look back, and you may see how far we have come. I grew up in a world where grim words such as “handicapped” and “retarded” were part of everyday speech, and disabled people were too often shut away. People put money in charity tins to salve their consciences, and then went back to their ignorance. A sure sign of the way society kept some people at arm’s length was the inhuman use of the definite article: people knew about “the deaf”, “the blind” and “the disabled”, but didn’t give them much thought.

Related: Families crowdfund legal action against special needs budget cuts

There are concerns about academies either excluding kids with special needs or pushing parents to choose other schools

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