Catering for cerebral palsy in mainstream schools – how does this work successfully?

Yesterday I received an alert from Google which led me to a report in a local paper published in Plymouth, Devon, UK. This report stated that a mother of a child with cerebral palsy had enrolled her son in the newly built local promary school believing that all his needs would be met. Unfortunately, this was not the case as he is unable to use his walking frame in the classroom due to lack of space.

Before Finlay started at the school his mother was assured her concerns would be dealt with :

“I picked what I thought was the best school around because it was new and because they told me his needs would be facilitated.”

As special schools in the UK are on the decline and the emphasis is now to include disabled children in local schools one would have thought a newly built school would provide the necessary accommodation for such children. The head master said:


All classrooms comply with government rules on sizes and the school is proud to cater for children with a wide range of needs and use full time teaching assistants where necessary to fully access the curriculum.”

“The school is committed to meeting the needs of all its pupils and will always listen to any concerns parents may have,” he said.

The school had arranged for a specialist to visit and review the classroom layout to see if there are any further modifications that could be made, he said.


It does seem odd that this basic need was not dealt with initially and that  a specialist should now be required to organise a classroom to allow for passage up and down for a child with a walking frame, but perhaps this report does not include information to clarify this.
There are a number of comments by other parents to this article which make interesting reading and are not quite as sympathetic as you would expect.