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Jonathan Harris has been one of the most active campaigners in the battle to keep open all of Birmingham's Special Needs Schools. It looked as though parents had won an important victory by being guaranteed full consultation in a review of their kids' education, but as Jonathan reports all is not as it seemed.

Regular readers of The Stirrer have learned about the Local Education Authority's plans to reform special provision and the parent's tremendous victory in achieving an involvement at an unprecedented level (see our previous article here)

One would imagine that the “extensive consultation process” that had been promised would be everything that they had wished for, but the LEA continue to play by their own rules.

Parents selected for the consultation process have been carefully chosen by an anonymous panel without verification of their skills and experience.

There are hundreds of mums and dads who feel that the “blind interview” process of selection was biased and unfair. Many are using terms such as “cherry picking” and accusing the LEA as being “elitist”.

They feel that this is an attempt by the LEA to repress the voice and opinions of the ordinary parent whose social standing and articulation are not to the taste of the LEA and its Strategy Working Group.

A sad and worrying twist in this issue; the LEA must come clean and explain why the Group, which claims to be extolling the virtues of inclusion, now seems to be a “closed shop” to many of the parents who fought so hard for its existence.

 Join in the discussion in the Special Schools thread on our Messageboard.

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