The time had come for me to move up to big school as I was coming up to 11 years old.
Inevitably this was never going to be straightforward!
Mum, Dad and I had looked around our local catchment school, but it didn’t really suit. One of the main reasons being that again,they took one look at my wheelchair and saw it as a problem. Actually the chair itself had never been a problem, only the person sitting in it as the OSO frequently reminded me! Once people had decided that this was going to cause difficulties, no matter how good the school was access wise if there was a general negative attitude it was never going to work. Access was also a very big problem as well in the school as to get from one classroom to another I frequently would have had to have gone on my own in my wheelchair around the outside of the school building because there were steps inside the school which obviously were a no go area for me and my wheelchair.
So yet again we were off looking around at other schools. We went to look at the main LEA school in Bakewell which had a brilliant reputation for educational standards and discipline which mattered a lot to the parents especially at the thought of Roger progressing onto the school after me because they knew strong discipline was going to be very important for Roger my younger brother!
So we decided after looking around and talking to the staff at length that this was going to be the school for me and my brothers. Access wise it was not brilliant, but the staff were; I and my wheelchair were not viewed as a potential problem and they actually wanted me to go there (despite having fossil and the OSO as parents). In reality the school has realised what an asset I was clearly going to be to the school!
It was not that straightforward because the school was not our catchment school, which then, made it a lot more difficult to get there. However, the OSO by this time was getting very, very good at putting our case forward (practice makes perfect) and eventually I was accepted at the school. It was brilliant, I really liked it there. The staff were great and I made loads and loads of friends all of whom saw me for myself and not my wheelchair.
Mum had to take me each day, and fetch me back because obviously I couldn’t get on the bus, but that didn’t stop locally as the school was out of catchment. This caused ever more juggling for the OSO, taking me to Bakewell, getting Roger and Alistair to their schools and then getting herself to work in Sheffield and reverse at the end of the day. It didn’t take long to realise this was going to be very difficult so luckily, the College where she worked were offering redundancy packages so Mum managed to get one and stopped working there. Then (would you believe it) she managed to get a part time job at my school, so she only had to be two places at the same time rather than three, easy peasy for the OSO and then finding that she had so much spare time on her hands she went and bought herself a pony with her redundancy money!!