Letter: Where is child guidance clinic?

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The Independent Online
Where is child guidance clinic?

Sir: There is a spate of highly publicised exclusions from school including your report ( 29 October) of the shutting of a school because of an out- of-control child. It makes me wonder what has happened to the local Child and Family Consultation Services - or Child Guidance Clinic, as it used to be called.

I speak as an ex-psychiatric social worker in a multi-professional Child Guidance Clinic team. The work we did included assessment, treatment, support and consultation for children, parents and teachers in just such cases as are being reported. There also used to be remedial teaching, educational therapy in the clinics, and special units and classes to which children with problems could be withdrawn and in which they undoubtedly were helped.

Alas special schools, some of them boarding schools, have been closed in recent years. These services have been cut for "economic" reasons, and children who have special needs and cannot manage in mainstream schools are expected to be integrated into mainstream schools with minimal help.

There has also been an ill-thought-through, politically correct notion that all such children should be in ordinary schools. The benefits of special help, smaller classes and treatment for profound problems seems to have been thrown out with the bathwater.

RENEE COHEN

London N2

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