This article illustrates, through the story of one mainstream primary school, the tensions between the inclusion agenda and the standards agenda. The school is situated in an area of social deprivation and nearly half of the school population have been identified as having special educational needs. The story presented in this article illustrates powerfully the inherent injustice of the performative culture which pervades education and the effects of this discourse for children with special educational needs and their teachers. I argue that a policy change is needed to create a more equitable education system and that, in the absence of such a change, schools such as the one presented here will risk being categorised as failing schools. This will have disastrous consequences for the teachers' careers, children's self-concepts and the inclusion agenda itself.
- Special educational needs