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Teachers are not having it easy these days. Parents and government demand sharply improved results from schools while insisting-for idealistic or economic reasons-that children of all abilities must be taught together. Just think what will happen if the latest proposals to educate children with disabilities in normal classes ever take effect. Like most people, I have always found the idea of deliberate social exclusion repellent. I still do. But it is easy to be Utopian in theory. Since I began part-time teaching seven years ago, experience has driven out the untested faith I once had in David Blunkett-style social generosity.

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