Posted: 3 December, 2018

Lobbying Parliament – “Our Futures Matter”

General, Interview, News, Senior School, Sixth Form

Katie in Year 13 lobbies MPs for the “Our Futures Matter” campaign.

Katie in Year 13 was at the House of Commons last Wednesday to lobby MPs and Lords on behalf of the Young Vision Alliance (YVA) whose “Our Futures Matter” campaign is crusading for children with vision impairment to get the support they need in education.

Katie was born with Nystagmus, an eye condition which causes visual impairment due to an involuntary movement of the eye. She was originally turned down for a statement of special educational needs while at Primary school, but after a two year legal battle, Katie was awarded a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN). She is now at Putney High School where she receives the support she needs as part of her statement.

Katie spoke very eloquently to MPs at the Parliamentary drop-in, speaking about how she has gone from a position of very little support at primary level to now excelling at Putney High School GDST where she obtained a clean sweep of A*s and As in her GCSEs. According to her mother, “she has been incredibly well supported at Putney. Justyna Sokolowska is one of the best SENCOS I have ever met – she has really done us proud! We can’t thank the Headmistress Mrs Longstaff and the teachers enough.”

Mrs Frances Lilley is the volunteer education advocate for Nystagmus Network – A member of the Young Vision Alliance which campaigns for visually impaired children. The Young Vision Alliance found that in a survey of 288 parents of children with vision impairment, 47% of the parents had been forced to challenge poor educational provision because their child wasn’t getting the support they needed at school. The campaign is supported by RNIB, Guide Dogs, and Royal National College for the Blind.

Katie is currently applying to Universities to study languages. Mrs Lilley said, “When the support is there, there is absolutely no reason why a visually impaired young person shouldn’t achieve just as well as anyone else. Katie is a shining example of that.”

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