Disability

Full Transcript: Back to school

Ouch School Report March 2018

www.bbc.co.uk/ouch

Presented by Ashleigh, Carys and Kelsey

MUSIC - This is another BBC Ouch Takeover where we hand over the microphone to guest presenters to see what they do with it.

CARYS - It's an Ouch Takeover, but this time with a twist. In collaboration with BBC School Report, a journalism project for 11 to 18 year olds, the Ouch team have let us kids take over. I'm Carys.

ASHLEIGH - And I'm Ashleigh. We are going to chat all about our own disabilities, as well as talking to you about what it's like at school for us.

KELSEY - And my name is Kelsey. As with all Ouch takeover podcasts we have a tea caddy full of questions in front of us. The deal is that we don't know what they say and we will answer them. So I will grab the first one. Our first question is, 'what is your disability?' So for me I'm totally blind, I've got two artificial eyes. I lost my sight completely ten years ago almost.

ASHLEIGH - I have dyspraxia and ataxia which means I'm a bit shaky and sometimes can be a bit wobbly on my left side. And I'm also blind in my left eye.

CARYS - Mine is hyperkalemic periodic paralysis which, long story short, basically means that I become weaker if I sit down for long periods of time, so like certain food or stress can trigger it, and it means that my limbs are generally weaker, but usually my legs the most. Well, so now we know what's wrong with us let's pull out another question. Mainstream school versus special school? Which do you prefer and why?

KELSEY - I go to a mainstream school at the moment. I'm doing my GCSEs this year but I've actually just got funding to go to a specialist college in September, so it'll be great to see the contrast between them once I start there.

I've always been in a mainstream school myself, which has been great for making friends and for the normal curriculum and having the opportunities that all mainstream kids have in mainstream school.

ASHLEIGH - I went to mainstream school and then struggled for¬ a bit because they couldn't provide what I needed to go on and thrive to be who I needed to be to get my grades. So I moved to a specialist school and I've been there for nearly two years. This will be my third year.

CARYS - So I'm in a mainstream school, and I have been for all of my education so far, because I'm in Year 10. And I can't honestly imagine being in a specialist school, but I can see the advantage in specialist schools, because I think they might provide that extra support. But my school goes like above and beyond what I could imagine it to. So I don't know, because I can't really say because I've only been in one, but my mainstream school is pretty supportive.

ASHLEIGH - When I moved to my special school that I'm at now I didn't know what it would be like, I couldn't imagine making new friends, but now I have it's kind of easier because I think that it's better here because I have more chance of doing what I want to do. Because at my old school they wouldn't let me do PE and all that sort of stuff, they kept pulling me out of lessons. And I just think that I get more from this school than I do with my old school.

KELSEY - I had one experience which, well it still makes me laugh to this day, where I went in, I was using a white cane, and someone decided that I was clearly pretending to be blind…

ASHLEIGH - Oh!

KELSEY - Because that's a fun thing to do. So I think they were a year above and you could just hear them, they'd walk past and they'd be talking to their friends like, "Oh, is he pretending?" And I'm like, "No, it's not the sort of thing I do in my spare time to pretend to be blind."

ASHLEIGH - How did you manage to get through that sort of tough situation?

KELSEY - You have to kind of laugh. You have to have a really good sense of humour I think, and luckily I do, thanks to sort of my upbringing and just, you get so many funny situations and you either laugh or cry, and I go for the laughing approach.

ASHLEIGH - I used to have little kids asking me, because I wear a splint on my left foot, "Oh, what do you use that for?" And I'd explain and I'd go, "Oh, it's to help me walk." And I'd just explain to them because they're little and they don't understand as much.

CARYS - I tend to gloss over mine all the time. I know I shouldn't but I'll be walking up the stairs sometimes and people will go, "Oh, what's wrong?" and I'll go, "Oh yeah, I've just twisted my ankle." And I know I shouldn't, but in a way it makes it so much easier to just kind of brush it off, otherwise in this minute trip up the stairs it'll go into a long blown conversation about my condition.

ASHLEIGH - Let's pick out the next question. 'Do you have any particular access needs at school? Tell us about them'. I don't have them anymore. I guess when I was little I couldn't walk at all, so they put me on a walker frame, like a Kaye walker, and then when I got to Year 3 I came off it and then as soon as I moved back to middle school they put me on it again. So I thought I've just got used to coming off the walker, why put me back on it, because it's going to get me used to a whole new thing? What about you guys?

CARYS - The muscle weakness with me tends to go on and off, so it's really hard to fit something in place, because I have classes right at the top floors of my school, so it's three flights up. So sometimes obviously I can't do that so they'll put me in isolation, or at least the isolation room, and I'll do my work there. Which is good that they put it in place, but at the same time I'd prefer to go up and actually be involved than have cover work sent down.

KELSEY - I think the advantage of mainstream which is like where that goes wrong is that you're saying that sometimes you're put in isolation, not because you've been naughty, but I think that kind of goes against the advantages of mainstream, which is you're in a quote, unquote, 'normal class' with your friends and people around you. Aren't they able to bring your classes downstairs or somewhere more accessible?

CARYS - Originally all my classes were supposed to be, most of them anyway, at the bottom, and all of them… Me and my sister have the same condition because it's genetic, we're both supposed to have tutor groups on the bottom floor, but they forgot… So they don't really have space to bring the class down, but I think they could kind of set up like a Skype call type thing, or at least have the teacher or a teacher come and see me and explain through it.

Because sometimes they'll send work to me which I just really don't get and obviously because I'm then in a room kind of by myself because I'm not allowed to speak to the people who are there for bad reasons I'm there sitting there kind of going, well I can't do this, what am I supposed to do? So it can kind of get frustrating. But in an emotional way, as in I know who I can go and speak to if I'm feeling vulnerable, and for that reason I think I love my school and I couldn't ask to be anywhere else to be honest.

KELSEY - Time for another question, so I'll pick out the next one. Here we go. 'What is your favourite subject?' I guess I'll go first. My favourite subjects are probably French or history, I'm taking them both for GCSE. Yes, I really enjoy them. And it helps that the teachers are really good teachers in those subjects for me. I mean they're all really good teachers but they make a lot of effort.

ASHLEIGH - I suppose I kind of have more than one favourite. At the moment I'm doing GCSEs in entry levels, so I've just started the WJEC qualification in music and art and I'm quite enjoying that because at the moment I'm getting to compose my own piece and do research on different artists. And it's just given me a bit more freedom than other subjects do, because with other subjects I'm having to stick to a criteria and all that, whereas with these I'm getting to do a bit more research, pick out bits and pieces, and just do my own thing but within the criteria.

KELSEY - It helps you be more creative, yes.

ASHLEIGH - Yes.

CARYS - My favourite subjects? Drama for one thing because I love the creativity, I love the fact that you have to appear a certain way, even if it's completely different to your everyday self. I love German because I love learning about different cultures. History is really important to me because I think that we need to know about the past and the mistakes people have made in the past. And English, I really enjoy, even though sometimes it can be annoying having to learn all the books and the poems.

But there's an element in English that I love, speaking about what I'm passionate with. So we're doing our speaking and listening speeches soon, and I've decided to speak on the use of words to do with disability. And so it gives me an opportunity to speak about what I'm passionate about, so I love it for that reason as well.

KELSEY - I feel similarly about English GCSE, but going back to talking about what you're passionate about in English, we're actually doing a similar task I think, and I'm talking about the importance of inclusion for disability as well in sort of disability sports and different sorts of elements of that. It's really interesting and I really enjoy at school being able to talk about that and it gives yourself a sort of personality and identity within the school, which is really interesting.

CARYS - Okay, so I think we've been dragging on a bit too much with these questions, so what we're going to do is we're going to do several questions, but really short and snappy. So… 'do you have a hobby outside of school?'

ASHLEIGH - I really enjoy playing on my keyboard. I do a lot of singing and listening to music and that's what I really enjoy doing.

KELSEY - I play a visually impaired sport outside of school called Goalball, so I do training most weekends and I play in tournaments across the country. But I also enjoy playing the clarinet which I play outside of school as well.

CARYS - I do singing, acting, public speaking, research into historical events etc. I'm a member of Girl Guiding as well. Do you want to pull out the next one?

ASHLEIGH:'What is the latest craze in your school?' [laughter]

KELSEY - I can't even keep up with crazes in my school anymore. I have no idea. I don't know, I've been putting my head down for GCSEs so much I haven't been paying any attention, but probably something to do with… I don't even know, I have no idea.

CARYS - One minute it's in, one minute it's out kind of thing.

KELSEY - Exactly.

ASHLEIGH - Well, we don't really have crazes in this school, but I have a little sister who's absolutely obsessed with slime and stuff like that. And she's every five minutes making this new batch of slime and I'm just like, "Ugh, what have you made that for? Like, why on earth have you made that?"

KELSEY - Are fidget spinners still a thing? I have no idea. Are they still a thing?

ASHLEIGH - Yeah.

KELSEY - Okay, they're a thing. [laughter]

CARYS - I don't know, in my school it tends to be a pair of trainers, but like a different pair of trainers every week from a different brand. It can get really annoying because you try and get one thing to be in and then the next week it's just completely unfashionable and this is the new thing and this is what we're all going to promote.

ASHLEIGH - Yeah.

KELSEY - You can't even wear trainers in school.

CARYS - I know, but it's all about which trainers you can get for PE and how they look and what colour they are etc.

ASHLEIGH - Yeah.

KELSEY - It sounds like a lot of effort. Okay, next question. 'What job would you like to do in the future?'

CARYS - This is a hard one.

KELSEy - I'd really like to be a journalist, so I hope to go off to university after I do my A levels at college and I'm thinking of doing English. But I want to go into journalism, preferably written journalism in newspapers or online or however it works in like ten years' time when we're all like robots.

ASHLEIGH - I quite enjoy the idea of working with little kids and teaching, so I'm kind of heading towards that and I'm getting teachers to help me get different work experiences to try and give me a bit more experience in working with them, working with kids.

CARYS - For me I think it's probably also journalism, but I'd also like to travel at one point and use my love of languages. So that would be good I think.

KELSEY - I'd love to travel and do journalism abroad, it'd be brilliant. [laughter] Live in France, speak French.

CARYS - I could only dream for my skill at languages to get to that level I'm afraid.

KELSEY - We can dream.

ASHLEIGH - Yeah, I wish I could think about that, but it's about… because I went to France twice when I was in middle school and I really struggled to speak a word of French. Because although I've been taught it my memory is awful so when I came to speak in French and talk about what I wanted in a shop it was just like um… what to say?

KELSEY - When I went to Paris I worked out that people could work out that I was blind and were clearly using the word for blind in French but I had no idea, so I'm going around going, "I have no eyes, I cannot look, I don't know 'blind'." And they clearly told me the word for blind, I've no idea, "Eyes don't work."

CARYS - When we went to Germany with the school my friends and me decided it would be a really good idea to buy a straw hat with the German flag on, but the amount of comments I got walking back from the shop going, "Oh nice hat," in German, but I didn't realise they were saying nice hat, I just thought they were all laughing at me for wearing it. So I had to get my German teacher to translate on the way back.

KELSEY - Oh, I love travelling with foreign languages.

CARYS - Okay, shall we do the next one?

ASHLEIGH - Yes, nice.

CARYS - Okay, 'what is your school uniform? Do you like it?'

KELSEY - No.

ASHLEIGH - We have a school uniform, you get to post 16 and you can wear whatever you want. So what the other kids wear, apart from me, is a polo shirt, so you have a white polo shirt with the school logo on it and then you have a navy blue cardie, also with the school logo on it which you wear with a grey skirt or trousers with black shoes, whatever you want to wear basically. And then us older kids get to wear what we want.

CARYS - What is your uniform, Kelsey?

KELSEY - We have to wear a white shirt and a blazer, I can't remember what colour the blazer is now actually off the top of my head, but we have to wear a blazer and a tie, black trousers and black shoes. And I mean, I had to learn to tie a tie to begin with, that was a nightmare. If you can tie a tie you're better than me. But the college I'm going to in September, they don't really have a school uniform so I can wear what I like. And it's genuinely the most exciting part of my A levels. I can wear jeans to maths.

CARYS - I had to learnt to tie a tie when I was in Year 5 in school, because my primary school had it. But what's my school uniform now? I have school regulated black trousers, a blue jumper and a white polo shirt, all with the school logo on. But you're not allowed to wear trousers that aren't school regulated. It can be okay. It doesn't look as smart. When I go out to competitions, because I do public speaking competitions and stuff, when I go out there often it's a comment that our school uniform doesn't look as smart as others, but to be fair I don't think it should get in the way. So I quite like it because it's quite practical.

KELSEY - Exactly. I mean I can't see our school uniform so, you know, I don't really mind what it looks like. I can't see it, it's fine.

ASHLEIGH - How do you know whether it's school regulated or not?

CARYS - What, for the trousers?

ASHLEIGH - Yes.

CARYS - So, on the trousers they have a tiny little version of our school logo, like imprinted onto them that you can see. Mind you, it's a different colour, but it's still the same black as the trousers so it's very hard to see but it is there.

KELSEY - They'd never know.

CARYS - That's the attitude of several girls in our school.

KELSEY - Exactly. They're not going to know.

CARYS - Okay, do you want to pick out the next one Kelsey?

KELSEY - I haven't got another one.

CARYS - Oh, is it your turn Ashleigh?

ASHLEIGH - I don't know, I've already done two.

CARYS - Oh just go on and do it.

KELSEY - Someone get a question [laughter]

ASHLEIGH - 'You're here for BBC School Report, which is a project for kids to tell their own stories on a media platform. What media do you enjoy?'

CARYS - Do you think we're talking social media-wise or…?

ASHLEIGH - I'm not really quite sure. Yes, I think that's what it is.

CARYS - Okay.

KELSEY - All these questions are met with silence, sorry. [laughter] I use social media, as most teenagers do I guess. Like social media's important for us at school, just because you have to kind of… You're expected socially to keep up with what's happening on Twitter and whatever else.

ASHLEIGH - I use Facebook and Twitter and I kind of just talk to my friends through that because when we go off on school holidays I'm just like, I've got no one to talk to, like no one's here apart from my sister and she doesn't want to talk to me so what am I going to do? So I go onto Facebook to try and talk to my mates and catch up with them and see what they're doing.

And then I've started using Twitter so I've started following a few people on Twitter and we've got out own Twitter page for school now which we use for certain things, like we do our own school news and stuff. So that's how I keep up with what's going on.

CARYS - I use Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram but all kind of for different purposes. So I use Snapchat to talk to people and sometimes to say what I'm doing. Facebook tends to be if I'm doing anything I think is fun or important, like I'm sure on my Facebook people will be able to see BBC School Report when I get home today. And then I use Instagram kind of just to talk with friends, I make group chats on there for any projects I'm doing, and to just keep people up to date that I haven't seen in a while on what I'm doing.

KELSEY - I'm fairy sure social media is designed just to make us angry though. Like I log in and I just log off, like I'm just really angry now.

CARYS - Social media is great but as long as you use it carefully I think and know how to use it.

ASHLEIGH - I started talking to my friend the other day on Facebook and I was just like, "Oh my God, I'm going to be on the radio, I'm going to be talking on the radio, I'm going to be speaking on a podcast," and I was getting all excited to my mate, and she was just like, "Oh my gosh, when's this? When can I listen to it?" and I was just like, "Um, it's this date, this date," she was just like, "Where can I listen to it, where can I find it?" I was like, "I don't know."

KELSEY - Oh course if they meant like TV or radio or more traditional means of media then… I don't really watch TV because it's all rubbish but… [laughter]

CARYS - Don't tell the BBC that.

KELSEY - Oh yeah, BBC 1 is amazing, you should all go and watch that. But no, I listen to the radio a little bit, I listen to BBC Radio 1, sort of when I'm doing work I keep up with that. But I don't really watch TV. I sometimes read newspapers online but even that's not traditional. What about you guys?

ASHLEIGH - I kind of watch a lot of Netflix at the moment. So I'm not usually downstairs very much anymore, I'm just up in bed watching Netflix and then I get bored because I've watched every single thing on there. So I watch the news sometimes in the morning when I'm getting ready for school, if it's on, but that's pretty much it.

CARYS - I watch TV ever so often but I don't tend to watch it loads because I have a lot of stuff to do like homework now. But at the moment I'm watching a documentary called 'Life on Death Row'.

KELSEY - So good. [laughter]

CARYS - But no, it's not very cheerful admittedly but it's really interesting, I find it really interesting looking at the legal justice system in America. And also I'm quite interested in current local and worldwide news, so to do with the stuff on gun laws in America. It often covers stuff on gun crime on there and whether it's right to do capital punishment and I like those sort of moral questions.

KELSEY - Well, I think we're coming to the end of this now, so thank you all for listening to our take over. As always you can email ouch@bbc.co.uk, find us on Twitter @bbcouch or find us on Facebook.

CARYS - And please do like, share and review this podcast so that people who'd like this kind of thing will get to hear it.

ASHLEIGH - Thank you to the producers, Lucy Edwards and Damon Rose. And special thanks to Josie Verghese. From School Report. And you can see more stories by young reporters from all over the UK on the BBC School Report website, bbc.co.uk/schoolreport.

ALL - Thanks for listening and goodbye.

[Jingle: this is the BBC]