Talk:Special school

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resource room[edit]

There should be a seperate page for this service. It is not associated with a special school as all are house within the same school typical students attend. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:04, 27 September 2009

That's not a bad idea. In the meantime, it could be described in Inclusion (education) or Mainstreaming (education). Can you suggest some reliable sources that we could use for descriptions, common uses, effectiveness, etc.? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:23, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Hi I tried to add a couple of reliable sources, as well as creating a seperate page. Another source showing benefit of resource rooms: Hagaman, J.L., &Reid, R. (2008) The effects of paraphrasing strategy on the reading comprehension of middle school students at risk for failure in reading. Remedial and Special Education, 29(4), 222-234 Jimsteele9999 (talk) 23:45, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

camphill movement?[edit]

are they so related to the article they should be mentioned on it? maybe a list of special schools is needed.. 04:30, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

npov tag[edit]

I added the tag, this entire article is arguing against special schools. the article focusses on one point of view which it calls mainstreaming in education. This article requires a complete rewrite to make it at all worthwhile. 20:56, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

There was a reasonably large section about UK SEN schools (which to me) reads more NPOV but was removed, presumably by a Yank, for no appreciably reason, I've re-added it for now, although I agree it could do with a merge into one section/rewrite.--ElvisThePrince 14:19, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

recent change..[edit]

Special schools are schools catered to students with special educational needs. They do not provide special education. There’s a reason why it’s not categorize in special education. Special schools and special education are separate. (

As discussed previously! (yawn) Special schools are ENTIRELY involved in the provision of Special Education. That is their job to provide education for children with "special needs". They do not provide an inclusive education, but they do provide special education, that is their sole function. --Brideshead 19:29, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

You don't have a source for your claim at all. Special schools do not have regular classrooms at all. Special education is the term to describe exceptional individuals in a school. Special schools only have one group of people. They aren't compared with anyone else. It is not part of special education......We already discussed the special education article, you even agreed to delete the special schools. If you disagreed, you would have left the special schools under how special education is provided? So you agreed with me. (
            • I don't know WHERE you get the idea that "special schools don't have regular classrooms". In the UK at any rate, virtually ALL state provided special schools have standard classrooms, follow the (modified) National Curriculum, and resemble ordinary schools except in the range of pupils they cater for. As for the original article here's contention that special schools are not informed by research: all I can say is that all the special school staff I know have multiple degrees at Masters Level and are far more qualified than their mainstream counterparts! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:04, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • education is the term to describe exceptional individuals in a school

Unreferenced, ill-informed nonsense. This is not the definition of special education.

i did not "agree" with you on special education, I worked with other users to reach a compromise; that's a word you should research. compromise. --Brideshead 21:13, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

So how come on the special education article you didn't put special schools back in under how special education is provided? Learning difficulties is the better term instead of learning disability. It's more neutral...physical more than one. You deleted learning difficulties and put it as learning disability. (

I don't know what you're arguing about now, special education, learning disabilities, changing comments, not changing htem, who can tell. Pick a topic and try to be clear. --Brideshead 21:33, 25 April 2007 (UTC)



Can I add that link? Is that neutral to everyone? What is statement of SEN? That's what says on the link. Someone should read it...and then we can discuss it after. ( - talk)

A special school is any private school catering to students who have special educational needs (SEN), for example, because of learning difficulties or physical disabilities.

Why can't I say this? Private schools are schools that are catered to one type of people. Not all private schools are run by private groups. Some can be run by the government. Public schools are run by the government but they are open to the public. ( - talk)

The term private school has a very specific meaning. It refers to schools which charge parents at point of use. The term has no conotation of allowing or refusing access to the general public it simply means a fee paying school, which the vast amjority of special schools are not. Look at the article on Private School your edit will confuse readers. --Brideshead 22:40, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

So read this: Special assistance schools aim to improve the lives of their students by providing services tailored to very specific needs of individual students. Such schools include tutoring schools and schools to assist the learning of handicapped children.

So which proves that special schools are private schools. ( - talk)

I#m trying my best to understand, where exactly in the statement above does it say that parents must pay for this service? --Brideshead 22:55, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

spelling mistakes[edit]

I'm only mentioning this as it the second time you've made a comment about poor spelling. The changes you made on both occasions changed British English spelling to American English spelling. Neither are correct or incorrect. Wikipedia suggest that it does not amtter which is used as long as only one is used throughout the article see WP:SPELLING and WP:ENGVAR. It is standard to continue using the format in which the article was begun. In this case that it British English, however I don't really care and will not be reverting the edits. --Brideshead 19:05, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Well great...thanks...and sorry for being mean to you...i really didn't mean it....

( - talk)

Alternative School[edit]

Special Schools are not considered part of 'Alternative Schooling' I have flagged the edits and will remove the statemtents after one week if a reliable verified source for the label cannot be provided. --Brideshead 16:14, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

The reference is there in the opening paragraph. (Angelina - talk)

There are no references in the opening paragraph. You will need to provide a reliable source which describes special education as an alternative education. --Brideshead 19:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

flagrant bias[edit]

Removed unsourced extreme POV statement that the motivating factor for specialised settings is the "social comfort of other learners". This is a sick, false and unverifiable statement which, at best, is original research. --Brideshead (talk) 10:21, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was No move. Requester was a sockpuppet of a banned user. Also, there was little support for the proposal. Orlady (talk) 16:14, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Special schoolSpecial education school — See previous AfD as I suggested it. Let's see if we will have consensus for this move. I doubt it but nothing hurts to try. --Rovea (talk) 21:07, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

  • Sources? Do you have any high-quality sources that use this name? Names are typically chosen to be the most commonly used name in high-quality reliable sources, not just according to the personal preferences of an editor. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:23, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
"Special education school" is the full name for special school. Here is a source that lists "special education schools" from the world. [2]. Rovea (talk) 15:36, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
You've found one web directory ("the World's most comprehensive guide to the best education sites on the Web"[3]) that uses this term. My quick search specifically for published books shows 8,000 instances of "special schools" being used[4] -- ten times the number that use "special education schools"[5] I think that the current name is the one most commonly used in high-quality reliable sources, and it therefore should be retained. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:26, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Special schools obvious intent was "schools for special education". Historically, special schools were only for students who needed special education that the regular schools didn't provide. Orlady said that she knows plenty of "special schools" that do not provide special education. If that is the case which she proved with her references, then I think special education school should be used instead. Rovea (talk) 22:46, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
It would help clarify what a "special school" really is if we renamed it to "special education school". Rovea (talk) 22:57, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
If I don't receive a voiced disagreement about this, it can be treated as silent consensus. Therefore the renaming can proceed. Rovea (talk) 14:58, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Maybe you have a different definition of "voiced disagreement" than I have. It appears to me that BrownHairedGirl and I have both voiced our disagreement by our statements (below) opposing the rename, and no one has yet supported your proposed rename. --Orlady (talk) 17:20, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
BrownHairedGirl only said oppose because I didn't provide a reason. I provided my reason now. Did you disagree with what I just said? You just simply opposed because of your own personal opinion. I think you should at least read what I had to say. Rovea (talk) 17:27, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I did read what you said. I responded below by listing and discussing 16 websites I found, and saying that I believe the information I found supports my contention that "special school" is the more encompassing term with more worldwide meaning -- and therefore should be retained as the article name. I expressed this as my opinion because (1) I do not have access to Revealed Truth (the best I can do is examine the information available to me and state my opinion on what it means) and (2) I can speak only for myself (not for other people). --Orlady (talk) 18:17, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

You stated that special schools sometimes do not provide special education. That's not true at all. Rovea (talk) 19:32, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

ERIC (the PubMed of education) defines "special schools" as any school serving "atypical children", not as solely those that serve students whose atypicality is due to a disability, so I think that at least some sources use a more expansive definition. Under this definition, a school for non-disabled refugees from a foreign country would count as a "special school", as would schools for intellectually gifted children and for students that don't speak the dominant language of the country (e.g., English in America or French in France). I don't think that this is the dominant understanding of this term, but there's no reason why this article can't acknowledge the existence of this definition, much like Special education acknowledges that gifted education is sometimes considered a special kind of education (see third paragraph of the lead).
There are also "special school districts" that are not solely for disabled students: e.g., in Tennessee and in Arkansas. I think in this case, however, that they're talking about a special district for regular public schools, not a district for special schools. The Tennessee district, for example, only runs schools up to grade 8, and then the students have to transfer to another district. Louisiana also has a statewide "Special School District" exclusively for students in prisons and hospitals, rather than asking each local school to deal with these special situations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:04, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Tennessee's "special school districts" have nothing to do with the topic of this article. SSDs are a particular kind of taxing district created under state law to run the public schools in a few communities. --Orlady (talk) 21:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose rename. I've known of plenty of "special schools" (not all of which provide special education, BTW), but I've never heard of a "special education school". --Orlady (talk) 01:13, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  • OK, Rovea, here is some of the evidence that you are clamoring for. I did find a few instances of U.S. entities (in Maryland, New Jersey, California, and St. Louis, Missouri) that operate "special education schools," but all the other examples are all of "special schools." I believe that "special school" is the more encompassing term with more worldwide meaning. Here's what I found:
  • According to, A Dictionary of Nursing published by Oxford University Press in 2008, says a "special school" is (in Britain) "an education establishment for children with special educational needs."[6] did not return a definition for "special education school." This Guardian article refers to the "special school" attended by an English child with autism.
  • Camphill Special School in the United States is day/boarding school "for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities." [7]
  • Rohana Special School in Sri Lanka is for children with deafness, blindness, and various learning challenges. It aspires to become “the best special school in Sri Lanka.” The website does not mention "special education." [8]
  • Prerana Special School in Nagpur, India, serves "mentally challenged" children.[9]
  • The St. Louis Special School District in the United States provides special education services for students with disabilities and also technical education. It operates five "special education schools" and several technical schools. Based on the district name, I infer that all of its programs are considered to be "special schools."
  • Esperanza Special Education School in California is the only one I found that uses "special education school" in its name.
  • This medical journal article is about a study in "special schools" in Buenos Aires.
  • Chef Emeril Lagasse has created a "special school" in the United States to provide vocational and life-skills training to students with special needs.[10]
  • This news article describes a "special school" for the deaf in Lebanon.
  • This U.S. news article describes a child with special education needs who was helped by a "special school."
  • This news article from Sweden discusses a "special school" there.
  • This school in Maryland is named "Cedar Chapel Special School," but describes itself on its website as a "special education school."
  • This US news article is about controversy over a proposed "special school" in Wisconsin.
  • This US article tells about how to choose a "special school."
  • This US news article tells about a new "special-education school" in New Jersey.
--Orlady (talk) 16:49, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment The school in Sri Lanka is one of the minorities that does not provide special education. This contradicts to the common view that special schools provide special education. If we renamed it to "special education school", we would exclude Sri Lanka. They don't have the history of discriminating the disabled. And special education schools reflect that. Sri Lanka to me is just a school that educates special needs students. Nothing in their history discriminates the disabled. The history of special education has more notability than some school in Sri Lanka. Rovea (talk) 19:56, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
If what you say is true (I'm not sure that it is, as the article suggests that the school does provide necessary educational services for students with disabilities), that sounds like an excellent argument for retaining the title "special school". --Orlady (talk) 14:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Sri Lanka educates special needs students. But it doesn't provide special education. There is a difference. Rovea (talk) 19:50, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment. Note related CfD discussion. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:16, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose rename, and suggest speedy close. No evidence offered to support the use of "Special education school", which is an unfamiliar name. It's not at all helpful to propose a rename because "nothing hurts to try"; such decisions should be made for a reason, and if the nominator has no reason for the proposed move, then the proposal can be dismissed out-of-hand. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 11:41, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Thanks to the nominator for the explanation, but I'm not persuaded that there is any thing wrong with using "special school" , which in any case appears to be the common name ... and the proposed rename seems to bring its own problems. So I'll stick with my "oppose". --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:55, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment: Peterson's Guide includes a category for "Special needs schools", encompassing schools that serve a variety of different types of "needs," not all of which require special education. The cheesy National Schools Directories website defines "special education schools" as "Schools for students with developmental, neurological and learning disabilities." Their list for that category also includes schools for the blind and deaf, but it generally excludes other specialized schools that focus on needs of gifted kids, kids needing psychiatric therapy, kids with behavioral problems, etc. --Orlady (talk) 20:40, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Providing services to students with psychiatric conditions and behavioral problems is part of special education: they are considered disabilities under the relevant laws.
      The needs of non-disabled intellectually gifted students aren't included in the special education article on Wikipedia, but some districts previously had "special education/low" (disabled students) and "special education/high" (gifted students) programs. It's no longer fashionable in the US to separate highly gifted students from intellectually average students, so most of those programs no longer exist; "special ed high" programs are built into the structure of other countries' educational systems (e.g., the German gymnasium). I would have no objection to including them here, although Gifted education seems to be the choice of previous Wikipedia editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:04, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
      • This article is not about United States education law. --Orlady (talk) 16:49, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
        • True, but irrelevant, because all countries believe that severe ADHD and schizophrenia are disabilities. Nobody thinks that major psychiatric conditions are not disabling. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:33, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
          • Ah, but while students with psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, not to mention students receiving treatment for substance abuse problems, may need to be in a "special school" in order to address their psychiatric needs (or to isolate them from the larger student population), they generally do not have intellectual or sensory disabilities that require "special education". --Orlady (talk) 14:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
        • And where does this opinion come from? First of all a student with a psychiatirc condition, if properly diagnosed and recognized by an educational team in a school district, would in fact be eligible for special education services. Thus, they would require special education. In other words, the psychiatric condition is the disability; what impedes their access to the curriculum. Moreover many students who are coded EH are also co-morbid for other educational handicaps such as a learning disability.

Jim Steele (talk) 03:51, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

            • Students with psychiatric conditions generally do not have any intellectual or sensory disabilities along with their psychiatric needs. These students would be educated in a "special school". But students with intellectual or sensory disabilities would be educated in a "special education school". Should we have two articles instead since technically they both are different? Rovea (talk) 19:59, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
It sounds like you are asking Wikipedia to draw a distinction that is not established in the real world. Wikipedia documents ideas and concepts published elsewhere; it does not create new ideas. (See [{WP:OR]].) --Orlady (talk) 21:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Actually, the full name for "special schools" in the UK is "special educational needs school" [11]. However the WP:COMMONNAME is "special school" [12]. Therefore, this rename meets neither the full name or the common name. I'm guessing something similar is probably the case elsewhere. Oppose. Black Kite 19:27, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Special education is a notable subject, and then its schools are. The common name "special school" reflects all schools that have special-needs students. It doesn't distinguish schools that deserve the notability. The schools that don't provide special education aren't really notable. There is nothing special about them. School-related subjects aren't even encyclopedic. Therefore, it must have something unusual that stands out. I don't see "special schools" as standing out. I see the history of special education as something that stands out. Wikipedia is not a directory of all the special schools in the world. However, since special education is a notable subject, then of course its schools are. It is of course an exception. Rovea (talk) 21:56, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Rovea, it sounds like you are interested in writing about the history of special education. If so, the article section Special education#History cries out for expansion. :-) --Orlady (talk) 14:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
      • "School-related subjects aren't even encyclopedic"? Um, I'll think you'll find most encyclopedias might disagree with you there. Black Kite 23:33, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
        • Do we see the name of local institutions such as elementary schools in encyclopedias? Do we simply add them to encyclopedias just because they have a Blue Ribbon? Rovea (talk) 15:11, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
The question of the notability of individual schools is not relevant to this particular discussion. Wikipedia:Notability (schools) is not an adopted guideline, but it may help you understand some of the prevailing views on the subject of the notability of individual schools. --Orlady (talk) 16:54, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
So Orlady, do you agree with the move? You seem to somewhat agree with my views. Rovea (talk) 19:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I have already said that I oppose the move. I haven't changed my !vote. --Orlady (talk) 21:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I would wonder what a "non-education school" was if I wasn't involved in the movement to end them. Rich Farmbrough, 23:16, 24 November 2009 (UTC).
  • Agree with move. Anything can make something special, but the intention obviously is to special education. So let's say that clearly. Debresser (talk) 18:08, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposed close[edit]

Rovea has been identified and blocked as yet another sock of User:Jessica Liao, a teenager on an indefinite community ban for abusive use of multiple accounts.

Does anyone have any objections to closing her proposed move now? WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:35, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Closing this proposed move is an excellent idea. Thanks for sniffing out the sockpuppetry, WhatamIdoing. --Orlady (talk) 16:10, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposed Deletion[edit]

I see this article is up for deletion - I say delete it. The topic is interesting but the article is week. Not worth keeping.

Delete it and let someone with more skills and knowledge have a go. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:11, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


The history of special schools is important, because a good view of the history of these educational institutions can give us an idea as to where they may look like in the future. I added a bit, but it is not enough. The history jumps from the 18th century to the 20th, and surely there's more that happened in between. Can't find enough good sources now for more, but if anyone can it would be great.

Jim Steele (talk) 04:12, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Also, "the history of special schools" is not the same as "the history of special schools in the United States". If anyone's got sources about other countries (particularly English-speaking countries, since that's what interests most of our readers), then that should be added as well. We've so far just got two points in a large history, and we don't want to exclude anything.
Jim, are you sure that mainstreaming (education) started in 1997? I'd rather put it down to Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:48, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure if mainstreaming officially started in 1997, but the amendments to the act made it clear it was expected. You may be right about it's origin in EHA, but the wording is cryptic, no? Take a read at the text of the law and tell me what you think. Jim Steele (talk) 00:16, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

I believe the term "mainstreaming" is used exclusively in American English, and it sounds rather odd in an article covering the subject of special schools on a global basis. Also, in the UK at least special schools do not only cater for disabled students but all students with special needs. Would anyone object if I amended the sentence about students not attending classes with their non-disabled peers? Dahliarose 09:48, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Jim, I'm pretty sure that one of my sisters had a Deaf student in her general education classroom when she was in elementary school around 1985. That substantially predates 1997. This may be a better example of a student being fully included, but I doubt that mainstreaming would have waited another 12 years to get started. See also page 9 of ISBN 9780029279205 (1979), which calls EHA "the mainstreaming legislation".
Dahlia, a (paid?) book review of ISBN 9780750708920 seems to think that UK's "inclusion" is the same as the US's "mainstreaming". That might be a source of confusion, if it's not just this one editor's quirk.
Can you provide a source that says that special schools in the UK enroll general education students? (That would exclude anyone with a physical, mental, neurological, emotional, or behavioral difference that is relevant for either learning or participating in a standard school environment). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:01, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

In the UK a lot of the special schools have been closed down and the children have been moved into mainstream education. Some schools have specialist units for children with particular special needs (eg, Aspergers'/autism, physical disabilites, etc.) They have some lessons in a special unit and are integrated with other pupils for the remaining lessons. See Westende Junior School for an example of such a school. I don't think there are any special schools in the UK which educate non-special needs pupils. Special schools tend to be reserved for those with severe learning difficulties and physical disabilities. My point was that special schools in the UK are not just reserved for those with physical disabilities. Children with behavioural problems and autism are also educated in special schools alongside those with physical disabilities. A good source for the status quo in England is the most recent OFSTED report: If you want to learn more you could look at the inspection reports on the various special schools: Here's an example of one such school: According to the inspection report it "provides for pupils and students with moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) and those with profound and multiple disabilities (PMLD). Increasing numbers of pupils have complex medical issues in addition to their learning needs. Over one third of the school's population have a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)."

My quibble with the use of the word "mainstreaming" is that in British English nouns are not commandeered as verbs in this way. The word "mainstreaming" does not exist for instance in the OFSTED report. We talk about pupils being educated in mainstream schools, but mainstream is never used as a verb so they are not "mainstreamed". I would suggest this usage be confined to a section on special schools in the US. Dahliarose (talk) 13:06, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Looking at this (a chapter of [ this comprehensive report on special schools in the UK), the terminology lines up like this:

Thing UK name US name
'Regular' school for (mostly) non-SEN kids; "neighborhood" school Mainstream school General education classroom
Separate building/program/school, only SEN kids Special school Special school
Separate program/classroom, only SEN kids, physically located in a 'regular' school Special unit Self-contained classroom
'Regular' classroom, both SEN kids and non-SEN kids Resourced provision Integrated or inclusive classroom

Does that sound plausible to you? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:22, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

It's a complex issue and I'm not too sure of my facts. In the UK large numbers of children are diagnosed with "special educational needs" but are educated in mainstream schools. I believe that around one in five children receive such a diagnosis. SEN covers a very broad spectrum and includes dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, etc. This report from the Times Educational Supplement gives an idea of the problem: All mainstream schools will have large numbers of SEN pupils, and in some schools in deprived areas over 50% of the children will have special needs. All children in the UK have to follow the National Curriculum so SEN children do not follow a separate educational programme. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the "regular classroom" in point four, and I don't understand the difference between an integrated and inclusive classrom. In the UK a resourced provision would I think be the same as a special unit attached to a mainstream school. The funding normally follows the child. If a child has a statement of special educational needs then the school receives extra funding to provide extra staffing. I'm afraid I don't really know enough about the subject to write about it. I would hope that we might find an expert who could help contribute. Dahliarose (talk) 12:12, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I can't speak with authority of how students with special needs are educated in countries other than the USA. That being said, the article you linked emphasized the socioeconomic factors tied to students with disabilities. Like many facets of special education, I assure you this is an issue that is not exclusive to the UK. Students identified with special needs in USA, similar to their peers in the UK, also have to follow a standardized curriculum mandated at the state level. Moreover, per NCLB they are tested and held to the same standards as typical students. Technically, the definition of an "inclusive classroom" is one where not more than 50% of students are coded. That way there is a fail-safe mechanism in place so that the students with special needs are not, as you say, in a special unit. I have not heard the term "integrated classroom" before. It comes across as an early phrase for inclusion. I did make an effort to mention that my addition to the history section applied to the US. The section could use some more European examples--and I welcome them--as long as they are sourced as although special education is a small segment of the labyrinthine world that makes up this encyclopedia, it is of enormous importance and thus has to resist bias like an old man resists hair loss.

Jim Steele (talk) 00:33, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

By 'regular' classroom, I mean the typical classroom that non-SEN kids attend (except that of course many SEN kids attend in a regular classroom). It's the classroom that any student would/should attend, by default, with all of their neighbors. In the US jargon, it might be called a general education classroom, except that it usually isn't named that when kids with special needs are included in it. What it's not may be more useful: it's not a special education school, program, classroom, or service. Regular classrooms do not exist in special schools.
Integrated classroom is a slightly stable bit of jargon that was used to describe classrooms that have SEN kids with obvious or severe needs. It seems to have a higher percentage of SEN kids than an inclusive classroom, and it's a deliberate placement, usually based on the specific needs.
That is, if 20% of kids in a LEA have SENs, then an inclusive classroom should have 80% 'typical' students and 20% 'special' students (by random chance), and the SEN kids will have a range of severity and type of needs. An integrated classroom, by contrast, would have more than it's 'fair share' of kids with SENs, and the SEN kids (but not the non-SEN kids) would usually have been specially chosen. So a mid-size school with an integrated classroom might put all of the kids with motor skill problems (e.g., cerebral palsy) or hearing problems, or whatever, together in their integrated classroom. The class might be half kids with the same class of disabilities, and half kids without any special needs.
I don't know if integrated classrooms are common in public schools any more, but they still exist in certain government-run preschool programs. The constant challenge with these programs is convincing parents of typically developing children to enroll them; the parents worry (with some justification) that their child will be bit by the autistic boy, or copy the violent temper tantrums that the disturbed girl pitches, and so forth.
Dahlia, I haven't seen any evidence in your sources that special schools (not: special programs, special units, special services, but the completely separate special schools) enroll any non-SEN kids. Westende, for example, is not a special school. It has a special unit for kids with one type of disability, but the existence of a co-located program doesn't transform the rest of the school into a special school. It's also not listed at Ofsted's database of special schools, which suggests that it isn't considered to be a special school by the government. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:15, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanations. It's the concept of a classroom that I'm struggling to understand in this context, ie, is there a difference between an inclusive school and an inclusive classroom? In the UK everything is organised at the school level and not at the individual classroom level. A mainstream school in the UK is I presume the equivalent of an inclusive school in the US, but in the UK all the classes or classrooms are inclusive, rather than just having one inclusive classroom or one integrated classroom. Presumably your schools are much larger and there is more flexibility in the way that children are grouped. In the UK there does seem to be a tendency for some local education authorities to provide specialist units for say disabled children or those with Asperger's/autism. Within one LEA all the disabled children would then go to the school in their area which has the specialist facilities. They would then be taught where appropriate with their peers, but this would be across the whole school not just in certain dedicated inclusive or integrated classrooms. The numbers tend to be quite small however so each class would probably only have say two or three disabled children. The disabled children wouldn't all be put together in one classroom with a few non-SEN children brought in for the sake of balance.
Special schools in the UK only cater for children with special educational needs. Non-SEN children would never have any need to go to a special school. I think there's possibly been some confusion as I never intended to imply otherwise. I was making a distinction between disabled children and non-disabled children. Special schools cater for both, but the non-disabled children at a special school would have other special needs such as autism, behavioural problems, etc. Dahliarose (talk) 14:19, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I've had a go at tidying up the article by putting all the stuff about classrooms in one paragraph. I've also removed all the references to "non-disabled" children as there seemed to be an implicit suggestion that all children with special needs are disabled which is not the case. Dahliarose (talk) 16:39, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Adding to our confusion is the use of inclusive school as meaning "a school that never, ever lets a disabled child, no matter what their individual needs, be educated in a room without non-SEN students".
I think that integrated classrooms, with their deliberate oversupply of SEN students, are relatively rare these days in American schools, although I know a teacher who ran one for a while. Most US schools provide a range of services. A moderately large school -- say, 900 students from age 5 to 12 -- would typically offer all of these options:
  • full inclusion (the default; almost always used for kids with mild dyslexia, food allergies, wheelchairs, etc.),
  • partial inclusion with some instruction in a special resource room (=kids that need speech therapy or occupational therapy),
  • mainstreaming (most of the day spent in a self-contained/SEN-only classroom, but part of the day spent with non-SEN kids; e.g., for kids with Down syndrome who can't keep up with their age-peers in reading and math, but joins them for music and science), and
  • total segregation in a self-contained classroom (=severe autism).
Consequently, the school can't really be described as being one thing or the other, because it's doing some of everything.
Additionally, if it's only one of many schools in a city, the school district might offer a completely separate school, exclusively for students with disabilities; most small districts can't afford to offer this (and setting up a special school for just four or five students would be kind of silly).
Smaller schools might offer fewer of these options. In my local district, there are two elementary schools of about 600 students each, and they've divided up the options between them. There aren't enough SEN kids to create a self-contained/SEN-only classroom at both schools. One school has two self-contained classrooms (one for younger students, one for older ones) and takes all of the SEN kids that need it; the other does more with partial inclusion of similarly disabled students. The kids attend whichever school seems to best meet their needs.
Are we now prepared to develop this article with a working definition of "special school = separate school solely for SEN kids"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:47, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I think we can agree that the article can be developed with a working definition of "special school." Again I speak from the perspective of special education implemented in the US but even with full and partial inclusion, there still are special schools in every state in the US, and you'd be hard pressed to find a large school district that doesn't eventually decide on what is known as an out of district placement (e.g. special school). Typically, this occurs after due process as the district will often resist the high costs that come with such a placement, and the case is usually made that the student in question has such profound disabilities that the school cannot service them as mandated by FAPE and/or LRE. I have seen and read about cases involving students with emotional disabilities but this can be the case with some students with severe disabilities, though many districts (large ones) have programs and personel developed to educate these students. On a side note, resource rooms are typically used primarily to deliver direct instruction in small groups to students with learning disabilites, not as a vehicle to deliver related services (e.g. physical therapy). Jim Steele (talk) 01:03, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree that we can proceed on the basis that a "special school = separate school solely for SEN kids". I believe in the UK that only children with statements of special needs can go to a special school. I think this article needs just a short general introduction and then we will need separate sections on special schools in the US, England and Wales, etc. From your description it's clear that special schools in the US operate in a completely different way and you have a number of unique concepts, such as resource rooms, and special classrooms. These terms would all need to be fully explained with proper references. I presume the system has developed in the US as a consequence of the large size of your schools. In the UK a primary school educating children from 5 through to 11 would not normally have more than about 400 or 500 pupils. Many primary schools are split into infant (ages 5-7) and junior (ages 7-11) schools. These junior schools would only have about 200 or 300 pupils. If I've understood correctly there are also differences in the terminology in British and American English, and particularly the use of the word "disabled". I note for instance that you talk about "learning disabilities", and I think you are using the word "disabled" to apply to all pupils with special needs. In the UK the disabled normally means those with physical disabilities. I think it might cause offence if children with dyslexia, autism, etc. are labelled as "disabled". We use the term "learning difficulties" for instance rather than "learning disabled". I would suggest therefore that the word "disabled" should be used with great care and that ideally wwe use "special needs" rather than disabled throughout this article. If you use the word disabled in the American section you must make the broader meaning clear. Dahliarose (talk) 12:19, 12 December 2009 (UTC)