Education (handicapped children) Act 1970 – your ideal school?

On the 23rd of July, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary since the Education – Handicapped Children – Act 1970 was introduced an act to “make provision as respects to England and Wales for discontinuing the classification of handicapped children as unsuitable for education at school, and for the purpose connected therewith” meaning from the 23rd of July, 1970 all children of compulsory school age had a right to an education.

We do not use the term handicapped today, but this was still being used in 1970.

The audio is playing from a school isolation booth. School isolation booths are sometimes used as a form of punishment for disruptive behaviour. Before the pandemic, discussions about their usage in schools was being spoken about in the wider media. The idea is to explore the feeling of isolation and intimacy in the space. For me, I feel a desk signifies trust, freedom, and privilege to learn.

I would like to commemorate the act by asking you: 50 years on how inclusive do you feel the education system is today or when you were at school and what would your ideal school look like?

Commissioned and supported by Unlimited, celebrating the work of disabled artists, with funding from Arts Council England.

Photograph of me standing inside the school isolation booth wearing a bright pink dress and boots at the opening of the ‘Nothing about us without us exhibition’ at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.