A personal story

Helen Rowe's picture
I feel that I am in unique position to comment on the success of our local comprehensive. My three children more than most, span a wide range of abilities and aptitudes. My oldest is bright, “academic” and pronounced “gifted and talented” (whatever that may mean). I then have twins, the oldest of whom (by 15 mins) is keen on sport, lazy, articulate and chooses not read….yes and he is a boy! His twin sister was, as is not uncommon in twins, born with a disability. She has a condition known as dyspraxia which is complex . In its mildest form it can cause disorganisation and clumsiness; in my daughter’s case it meant she was unable to speak until she was about 4, struggled to learn to walk and still finds memory tasks and many practical/physical activities difficult. Until she was 9 she attended an Additionally Resourced Centre for children with speech and language disorders and since she was 11 has attended the local comprehensive school with her brother and sister. Many of our friends looked concerned when we told them this was where we were sending her, as our local school had the inaccurate label of being rather “academic”. Going into the mainstream was always going to be a challenge but it has been the best decision we have ever made. The feeling of being part of the local community and the independence that walking to school (after years of misery on a taxi) has given her are priceless. She takes part in drama, music and sports after and before school and is making good progress alongside her peers. The school have been faultless in keeping in contact, setting up appropriate interventions, promoting varied teaching and learning styles and above all being positive. I can honestly say that we could not pay for a better school and are so glad that we haven’t had to. All three of our children are thriving, being given the opportunities they need to develop independently and also having the benefit of being part of a local school where everyone is welcomed.
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Andy Smithers's picture
Mon, 28/02/2011 - 15:05

That is a really uplifting story.

You are lucky to have a great local school.

Unfortunately none of the local schools I would have a chance of sending my children to are good enough to be labelled "academic".

Helen Rowe's picture
Mon, 28/02/2011 - 16:10

It may be labelled "academic" but this is because it gets good results...not sure they are necessarily the same thing. The good thing about our local school is it offers a broad range of courses and teaching/learning styles so that it is accessible to everyone

Melissa Benn's picture
Mon, 28/02/2011 - 18:11

Very heartening to read and particularly so after all the defeatist drivel about local schools triggered by the huge publicity around Katharine Birbalsingh's book. Thanks for posting this.

Helen Rowe's picture
Mon, 28/02/2011 - 19:27

Thanks...it was the feature about her and her wretched book in The Observer yesterday which prompted me!

Tracy Hannigan's picture
Mon, 28/02/2011 - 20:40

I loved reading this, thank you so very much for sharing your family's story with us!

Francis Gilbert's picture
Mon, 28/02/2011 - 20:41

What a great story. It really shows how important inclusion is both as a value and a policy.

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