15 Dec

GrahamLast night I sat down after a fish and chip supper (well, I’ve had governors meetings every evening this week!) and my wife read out a post from a friend of hers whose son attends a school over in Bolton. I have asked Ian for permission to share his post with you all in my blog this week. This is how it reads..

Whilst I was driving to see my son in his Nativity, something caught me completely off guard. Jeremy Vine was hosting a phone-in based on the news there was now a 100% accurate test for Downs Syndrome in the womb, in Iceland where it has been trialled. Through selective reduction they have all but eliminated the condition.

Charlotte, a 20 year old university student, rang in. She was clearly upset and she made a very strong argument. ‘Why does society want to get rid of people like me?’ 

Like every listener in the country, I cried.

Her call was followed by testimonials from parents with special children. Their stories were broadly familiar. Their initial shock gave way to being involved in something bigger and better than they could ever have imagined.

If we had been offered a test to show ‘T’ had cerebral palsy to ‘selectively reduce him’, we would have missed out on the 5 greatest years of our lives and a first class ticket to a world of some of the most incredible people you would ever wish to meet.

Yesterday I witnessed the wondrous chaos of a pot pourri of special children perform the ‘Smelly Sprout’ at Green Fold School. It was a tearjerker, made all the more poignant by the fact that had this science been possible 10 years ago, there may have been at least 3 cast members short.

Earlier in the week, I joined a packed theatre to witness an absolutely brilliant Hollinwood Academy Nativity performance. To see our entire Key Stage 1 and 2, together with some of our Key Stage 3 children all on stage performing was wonderful! It was also great for the staff to see so many lovely comments about our school on Facebook afterwards.

Alison, the head of our new free school, told me another story this afternoon. She also had the pleasure of watching a marvellous Nativity, this time at Hawthorns School. Alison was captivated by Joseph, on stage with Mary, who was less concerned about the birth of the Messiah than making sure he waved vigorously (and continually) to his family who were sitting in the second row. Absolutely brilliant! We work with children and young people who make us laugh and delight us every day. That’s not to say we don’t have some small moments of frustration but these are quickly forgotten!

It is at this time of year that maybe we should step back and consider our numerous blessings. I have the absolute privilege of working with 400 of the most incredible people who share a passion for improving the lives of others. There can be no better vocation. I work with children and young people who often have to deal with adversity but show more courage than many others in our ‘perfect society’.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our families, trustees and directors for their continued support. Give me the amazing uniqueness of our children and young people – that’s real perfection.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here