If you don't know, Andrew has cerebral palsy and is coming to the end of his time at Stanmore House School in Lanark, a fantastic place that he has attended since joining the nursery class about fifteen years ago. I believe that the input from his teachers, and the technology available at the school, have helped shape him into the talented individual he is today. Unfortunately post-18 things don't look quite so good in Scotland. Andrew was basically told he would be attending Motherwell College (no element of choice), where he would be doing the "Access-8" course which more or less amounts to daycare (fingerpainting and the like), nothing that was going to push him to develop, or end up with a career.
I won't get into the ins and outs of the politics but basically the Scottish Government believes in mainstreaming and "inclusion". Unfortunately this seems to result in further education not being needs-led, but those with complex needs being fitted in around the margins and not given the resources that would really help them. We were not willing to blithely send Andrew off to Motherwell College, so we investigated alternative options to find the places that would really meet Andrew's needs were south of the border. We have now settled on Beaumont College in Lancaster, which Andrew has visited and offers amazing facilities like Eye Gaze technology, which would enable Andrew to use his eyes to select from different phrases and communicate much more effectively. He is interested in following a film editing course.
All of this has caused a certain amount of heartache, partly from having Andrew attend college in a different country when we are used to being very close to what's going on at school; but we know it will be really good for him. The main issue is the huge amount of fundraising required, which we feel is discrimination as further education is free in Scotland but there is nothing up here appropriate for Andrew. However we are meeting this challenge head-on with various events, and this brings me to the point of this blogfest. (Finally!)
It feels like we are doing this in the face of adversity from the authorities, but we have an iron conviction that we are doing the right thing. So I would like you to write something in that vein: overcoming adversity for something you believe in. It can either be a flash fiction piece, or an episode from your real life. Poetry is fine too.
* Sign up on the linky list below
* Please keep your entry to 500 words
* Please post on either Monday 4th or Tuesday 5th February
* I'd better say, keep it family-friendly! I'm sure it will be anyway.
Err... that's it! Once it's all over, I'll compile all the entries into the anthology which will be released as soon as possible, with all proceeds going towards Andrew's fund. I really hope you'll be able to join me, and please spread the word by whatever means you choose. The more the merrier! I'd also really appreciate it if you could display the blogfest button somewhere on your page. The ant is Andrew's mascot and will also feature on the book's cover.
As always for constant updates on Andrew please check out his Facebook page. Thanks!