Alex and the Right to the Right Education
When Alex was 1, I went on a Partners in Policymaking course – the course and people I met strengthened my resolve to go down the same route for education as his older brothers – his local infant and junior school. At the same time, I was advised to choose the one pre-school locally specifically for children with disabilities – it was a 30 minute drive away which put me off immediately and as soon as I got there - I knew it just wasn’t for him, for me, for us.
When he was 3 and thriving at his local pre-school, I met an educational psychologist who was assessing Alex for his statement, he was taken aback that I was only considering mainstream education. Alex started at the same infant school as his brothers when he was 4 and we haven’t looked back since.
Alex goes into year 5 next year – not long before secondary school – when I know things can get harder in terms of keeping it right. I therefore wanted to contribute to the Rightful Lives campaign to show that Alex’s right to the same education as his brothers, as his friends is right not only for him but those around him too and not just now but going forwards.
Because here’s the thing. School does work for him and for those around him. Education is a lifelong process that is multi directional – everyone learns from each other – and that’s how truly inclusive communities, inclusive futures start, are built, are strengthened.
I recently filmed Alex and some of his friends and his teaching assistant at school. Whilst Alex’s voice isn’t heard much in the film, I believe the importance of and the right to mainstream education for Alex and those around him shines through. When Alex left infant school to go next door to the junior school, his TA who had been with him for 3 years wrote him a poem. She says it all!