chapter  7
Race and Special Education
Pages 12

This chapter briefly reviews the situation in the United Kingdom beginning with the 1960s, during which period black children of African-Caribbean origin have been overplaced in stigmatised forms of statutory and nonstatutory forms of special education such as schools for the 'educationally subnormal' (ESN-M) and for the maladjusted. Until these categories were discontinued and relabelled in 1981 as schools for the emotionally and behaviourally disturbed (EDB), behavioural and pupil referral units (PRUs) and straight exclusion from school were and continue to be ways in which African-Caribbean children have been removed from mainstream education. It raises the question as to why children perceived as racially different should continue to be regarded as candidates for removal from mainstream education. It suggests that one answer may lie in the nineteenth-century post-Darwinian racial thinking, which was structured around assumptions of biological inferiority and cultural deficiency of 'other races', particularly those from slave ancestry or those who were living in colonised countries.