A $20 MILLION plan to integrate disabled children into mainstream schools is being stalled because headmasters appear unwilling to accept students with physical or mental disabilities. The Education Department has received an annual budget of $20 million to invite schools to accept up to six students with physical or mental disabilities. In return, the seven primary and three secondary schools would receive extra teachers and grants. But after a month spent contacting subsidised schools for a pilot programme to start in September, no headmaster has confirmed the enrolment of any disabled child in the new term. The Education Department is considering a request from concern groups to set up an advisory committee of teachers, parents, social workers and service users to help the project. Rehabilitation Alliance spokesman Wong Chun-miu said the Government was ignoring a list of recommended schools which were willing to take disabled students. The listed schools were rejected because they were private schools or had no experience in accepting disabled children, Ms Wong said. Education Department assistant director (service) Chong Kwok-kit said no school had yet accepted the scheme, but denied blindly turning down recommendations. 'We have to look at the background and culture of the schools concerned to see if they are appropriate,' Mr Chong said. 'The children do not need to go to a private school if there are free places in subsidised schools, where manpower and facilities are better guaranteed,' he said. Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association director Alison Tam Yuet-ching said some parents feared other students' progress might be affected by those with special needs. An advisory committee could help the parents of both groups communicate, she said. A survey from the United States has shown a positive effect on teachers, regular students and those with disabilities during five years of integrated education. Younger students were more positive and integrated with disabled peers. More than 80 per cent said they wanted disabled children in their classes and most of them talked and played routinely with them, the study found.