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Frog in a Pot: Special Education in Great Britain

Autistic_kidsNOTE: Special Education woes have been in the news lately - especially in the UK.  Costs are soaring and the number of students needing special education is continuing to rise unabated.  Seems no one is brave enough to ask why this increase - why are children unable to learn by traditional methods?  Is there really a "broadening" of diagnostic criteria? Even so, if the children were able to learn, even misdiagnosed, wouldn't they simply learn and then place out of special education?

By Anne Dachel

*(It should be noted that in stories from the UK on the sped/autism increase/cost, I'm seeing the caveat telling readers that  there has been over-diagnosing going on.  AND numerous stories are covering the explosion in "permanent exclusions," AKA "kicking 'em out for good" for the sake of the other kids. PLUS a new provision in the school rules just announced means that schools don't have to recognize a medical diagnosis of autism, therefore it's up to the school to determine if a child is disabled. Expelling students and taking away diagnoses--that ought to cut down the numbers. Unfortunately it'll do nothing to address the problem.)

What will it take before SOMEONE IN BRITAIN SEES SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE DECLINE OF STUDENTS AND THE EXPLOSION IN AUTISM? Will the British refuse to do anything until their schools are bankrupt and every family has at least one disabled child? Is Britain going to vaccinate itself back into the Stone Age?

It's scary to see the denial. Instead of addressing this as a crisis of epic proportion, folks in the UK are simply learning to live with autism.

July 23, 2017, UK Sunday Times: Shops to fall silent for ‘autism hour’

The most ambitious project ever attempted to help people with autism will be launched this autumn, when shops and services across the UK will take steps to create a better environment for people with the condition and increase understanding.

The event, called Autism Hour, has been organised by the National Autistic Society (NAS). Businesses have pledged to turn down music and other background noise, such as non-essential announcements, for 60 minutes during the week commencing October 2, as well as dimming the lights, to help create a calmer and less overwhelming environment. Staff will also be supplied with information about autism.

July 23, 2017, UK Sunday Times: Dramatic rise in autism diagnoses hits taxpayers via summer tutors

 Providing extra education for autistic children during the summer school holidays cost the state €12.6m last year.

The Department of Education’s July Provision scheme pays for an extended school year for pupils with autism, as well as those with severe learning disabilities.

It means qualified children — most of whom are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — benefit from an extra month of education during the lengthy summer break.

The number of children with an ASD diagnosis has risen dramatically in recent years and this is reflected in the increased bill for July Provision. In 2010 it cost €8.3m.

The numbers using the scheme have almost doubled from 4,552 seven years ago to 8,767 last year.

A government report released last week showed an 83% increase in the number of children in mainstream schools with an autism diagnosis.

It found that spending on special educational needs now accounted for almost one-fifth of the total education budget, costing up to €1.68bn.

Much of the expenditure relates to the employment of staff, such as special needs assistants (SNAs) and resource teaching.

Between 2011 and 2016, the number of pupils requiring an SNA increased from 2,742 to 5,041, while those receiving resource hours jumped by 60%. …

Earlier this year the Sunday Times reported that new cases of autism among Irish children had reached a record high of 772 per annum. This was up from 582 in 2015, and an average of 264 at the end of the last decade.

Concerns that children are being diagnosed inappropriately for resource access reasons has led to the Department of Education introducing a new system of allocating special needs services which will not depend on diagnosis.

Professor Louise Gallagher, consultant psychiatrist at HSE Autism Services, has previously said she believes the rise in numbers is due to the “broadening of the criteria” for diagnosis.

July 23, 2017, UK Express: Violent five-year-old expelled for touching his teacher’s breasts A FIVE-year-old boy who allegedly attacked a teacher with a hockey stick and touched her breasts has become one of the youngest children to be permanently excluded from school.

Luke Hoare was told to leave school last autumn at the start of Year 1.

The incident followed a number of outbursts that had scared other children. …

Figures released last week by the Department for Education show that the total number of permanent exclusions from all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in England in 2015/16 has risen for a second year to 6,685 pupils.

More than 1,000 were from primary schools, which represents a rise for the third year running.

Of those almost half were seven or under – including 50 four year olds.

The figures are the equivalent to 35 children being excluded every school day.

The number of fixed-period exclusions, where a pupil is excluded for a set period of time but allowed to return, across all state schools was also up at 339,360 last year from 302,975 the previous year. …

Persistent disruptive behaviour is the most common reason for permanent and fixed-term exclusions accounting for 35 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

Physical assault against an adult is the most common reason for all exclusions from special schools.

Notice in the second story had an expert to assure everyone that the dramatic increase in autism "is due to the 'broadening of the criteria' for diagnosis," in the same piece that announced that it's possible that "children are being diagnosed inappropriately."  That 'broadening of the criteria' refers to the addition of Asperger's in 1994, 23 years ago! The increases being discussed in this piece are from the last six years.

The UK Express covers a severe little five year old who's now  "permanently excluded from school," and "who started showing difficult behavior at two."

 Grim statistics, but don't worry, everything's fine.


Shelley Tzorfas

"Frog in a pot" refers to a story about how a frog was placed in cold water in a pot on a stove. As the chef raised the temperature a little at a time the frog did not notice and soon became cooked. If the frog jumped into a steaming hot pot of water all at once, he would have immediately tried to jump out. This analogy is what is happening in our schools. Not only is this happening with schools, but with an increasing amount of kids having mental illness and arming themselves with violence as a result of their Brains having been clogged with Neurotoxic Aluminum, Thimerosal/mercury, formaldehyde, Polysorbate 80 and a host of chemicals taking over their lives creating Anti-Health!

Cynthia Cournoyer

If the increase in autism is due to "broadening the criteria" then all you have to do is stop broadening it and autism will go away, right? Problem is, the aggressive students will remain, no matter what you do with statistics or how you want to excuse the numbers or bury your head in the sand.

How many sick and disabled children are at home without being enrolled in any school? This hidden number, a silent population would show that matters are much worse than numbers to be counted in a school setting. If classrooms are filling up with special needs kids, then those are the kids who are functioning enough to not scare other children, to not injure themselves or staff. Those are the children who have not been sent home. Yet.

How do the very sick children get counted? My guess is that for every school, there are several who are not able to be in school. Are they counted as "special ed?" They will be counted SOMEWHERE when their parents die.


"Providing extra education for autistic children during the summer school holidays cost the state €12.6m last year." <-- from the article above....

There are several such statements in the article, detailing how much it is going to COST the Gov't to fund schools. But like all such articles, even here in the U.S., the REST of the question goes unaddressed....
We need to ask **WHO** will be *PAID* that money?....
It's obvious that many 1,000's of new school employees and other such workers will need to be hired. WHERE will those workers COME FROM? Is the unemployment rate in England that high? Are OTHER industries and jobs, careers, etc., having trouble finding employees, now that these workers are in the schools? Or is unemployment dropping noticeably? We always talk about "how much it will cost", but we don't look at the REST of this large, complicated picture. CAUSES of autism & disability are another of these un-looked at aspects....
(c)2017, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

bob moffit

Ann concludes:

"Grim statistics, but don't worry, everything's fine."

How in God's name do these people sleep at night?

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