This week’s assembly focus is a powerful exploration into Disability Awareness Month, led by our dedicated SENDCo, Ms T Waters. The first assembly has been delivered to our Year 11 pupils today and will be delivered to all other year groups throughout this week. The theme for this year, “Disability, Childhood, and Youth,” has provided us with valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and the ongoing pursuit of equity.
The assembly began by delving into the distinction between equality and equity, emphasising that while everyone is equal, not all can participate in the same way due to various barriers faced by those with disabilities. The World Health Organisation outlines these barriers as physical inaccessibility, lack of assistive technology, negative attitudes, and insufficient services, systems, and policies.
Next, the history of the disability rights movement was highlighted, citing a pivotal moment after World War I when returning soldiers with physical and mental disabilities prompted employers to make adaptations. The establishment of the National Health Service Post-World War II and the introduction of the Paralympic Games in 1948 further advanced the cause for equity.
Highlighting UK laws, Ms. Waters shared that disabled individuals have rights to education, housing, welfare, work, and travel, and are protected against discrimination. In the UK, 14.6 million people out of 67.3 million have a disability, with 9% of the 13.3 million children also living with a disability. Additionally, 800,000 children in the UK aged 4-17 are caregivers for disabled family members.
With a global perspective in mind, it was revealed that 15% of the world’s population, approximately 1 billion people, are living with a disability. In the UK, legal safeguards, such as the Equality Act 2010, ensure protection against discrimination, abuse, and neglect. The assembly closed by celebrating significant milestones, like the 2012 Paralympics in London and the introduction of George Webster, the first BBC presenter with Down Syndrome, in 2021.
Ms T Waters left us with a poignant reminder: “It is crucial to spread awareness about disabilities, challenge stigmas, and reshape attitudes. Disability is not inability. All humans are diverse and different—there is no ‘normal.’ As a school community, let’s demonstrate respect and kindness to all, understanding that some face challenges we may not fully comprehend.”
Let’s continue to learn, grow, and support each other.
#RespecttheCTAWay #Community #Tenacity #Aspiration