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Module 06

Phil Tatt & Trish Tatt

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Module 06: Phil Tatt & Trish Tatt
Teaching notes
“Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the
limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have travelled the world, from the
Antarctic to zero gravity.”
Professor Stephen Hawking, Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the
University of Cambridge.
Read the following extract from the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE):
Every child has a right to an appropriate and efficient education in his or her local mainstream
school. The right to an inclusive education has been explicitly stated in Article 24 (Education) of the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (2006). In the UK, including
disabled children in mainstream schools has been officially promoted since the early 1980s.
Successive governments, however, have been criticised for inadequately resourcing this policy,
for lack of political will to enforce it and for maintaining a legal framework which renders inclusive
education inaccessible to some learners. This is like issuing a ticket but keeping the door locked.
The national picture is disturbingly inconsistent, while the current climate seems to be harbouring
reservations towards including disabled learners in mainstream schools, on the grounds that some
schools currently are, or feel, inadequately equipped to provide for all learners.
Professor Gary Thomas, in the aftermath of Baroness Warnock’s 2005 assertion that inclusion is
not working, wrote an article in the TES (published 14 October 2005) in which he states:
“But 25 years on, it is revealed that inclusion is difficult. Did anyone expect otherwise? Of course
special schooling is more convenient for the education system. Children who make serious demands
on teachers’ time are removed to special schools. The real issue - if we believe that inclusion is the
right thing to do - is about how to make it work. Here, some brave decisions are needed from policymakers about funding.”
Read the following extract from an article on the Huffington Post UK website by disability
campaigner Simon Stevens:
For over a century the majority of disabled children have been educated in special schools,
excluded from their non-disabled peers. It is only in the last 30 years that this has started to change
as more disabled children have been increasingly been given the right to a mainstream education as
this form of apartheid is slowly exposed and removed.
I think before going further, it is important to understand my own education journey as someone
with cerebral palsy. I was born in 1974 and my first school was the children’s ward of the local mental
hospital before it became its own school for the ‘mentally handicapped’, opened and named after
the Queen. They quickly realised I was rather intelligent and I was briefly integrated into my local
village school at 5, with mixed success. After spending a few years at a mainstream school with a
‘physically handicapped unit’, I was fully integrated at 11 at my local all-boys mainstream school,
where I received a proper education although I was constantly bullied. Then I attended the local
mainstream sixth form college doing my A-Levels before doing my degree at Coventry University.

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I strongly believe in mainstream education because of the right of non-disabled and disabled
children to be educated together. I can quickly tell those disabled adults who have attended
mainstream schools, as opposed to special schools, simply by their posture. Mainstream schools
provide disabled children with the same expectations to succeed as their peers, the social skills
needed to compete in a non-disabled world which special schools fail to do, and toughens disabled
children up for the real world, not to say anyone deserves to be bullied.
My belief in mainstream education does not mean I do not believe in special education because I
do strongly believe that everyone should get the specific education they need. I believe the criticisms
against mainstream education by parents and others is because many children are integrated into
their schools rather than included. Integration is when the child is required to simply fit in with the
school and no consideration of their needs are taken into account. This is not proper inclusion,
where the school reasonably adapts its policies, practices and teaching methods to accommodate
the specific needs of the child. There is always going to be some middle ground where the child
must learnt how to adapt to the school in the same way they will need to adapt to other situations
throughout their life to succeed.
The segregation of disabled children from mainstream education for over a century has caused
immense damage to the fabric of society that can only be mended when all disabled children are
fully included into mainstream education as standard policy, not just as a right but as a norm. At the
same time, the education system must be responsive of the individual needs of children, disabled or
not. Proper inclusion into mainstream schools must be the only ‘choice’ desired by everyone, for the
benefit of everyone.

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www.cambridgeshirealliance.org.uk

Module 06: Phil Tatt & Trish Tatt
Handout 01 – Phil & Trish’s Story
Summary.
Phil Tatt was born with Cerebral Palsy, his wife Trish was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
They both moved to the village of Papworth Everard in Cambridgeshire when they left school so
they could work in the industries there. They first met whilst they were working in a factory there and
went on to get married. They both lead busy lives, and are huge fans of live music and all kinds of
sports, both as spectators and participants.
Read/Listen to the following account from Phil and Trish about how they think integration is crucial in
changing people’s attitudes to disability:
Phil:
“Obviously more disabled children now are going to mainstream schools which I think works a
lot better I think a lot more of their friends will be able bodied as well as disabled as well so they are
integrating more as I said before, when I was at school, the only friends I had were disabled, not that
there’s anything wrong in that but they had more chances of making friends and er more integrating
than what there was now, than what there was in my day. Obviously they’ve got the computers
now, and there’s all sorts of different ways of communicating which probably good they didn’t have
mobiles or mobile phones when I was a kid, or child, or computers or anything. Er and as far as the
education is concerned it’s hard for me to say really cause as I say I’ve never been to a mainstream
school em well I have seen that they seem to have more choices and I think, oh one thing is for
certain – a child with a disability now has got more chance of going to a University cause they are
trying to be more accessible to cope for wheelchairs and for their needs to what they were in my
day. Because obviously access especially when you are in an electric wheelchair is very important,
with steps and ramps and everything and em there is more, not just for the child but as an adult now,
chance of having one to one and having your own carer, personal PA which I do know people have
got that we haven’t but that’s only by choice, which is better. So yeah I should think a disabled child
now would get a lot more choices, more chances of education, go higher education, up to University
as I say or higher.”
Trish:
“Oh, I wished, I wished. I always wished. I dunno, I never thought about it at the time, but I always
wished I went to...normal school, and I never– in- in my day, you didn’t get the opportunity to do that
like you do now. Uhm, I mean it never occur- I mean I- I wish now that it- that it happened. But at
the time it never occur- if you see what I mean, it never occurred to me, because I- because I knew
it...didn’t happen anyway. Do you know what I mean, like it does now. You hear about it a lot now,
don’t you? Integration and all that. That’s one thing I really miss...I wish had happened, you know?
Uhm...I think I’d have...I think I’d have, uhm...not mix, not mixed better, cos I- I think I’m quite a good
mix- mixer, you know. I make friends quite easy I think. I’ve got lots of friends, but, um, I just wish I’d
gone to normal school, really. Yeah. Now. I make friends quite easy I think. I’ve got lots of friends,
but, um, I just wish I’d gone to normal school, really. Yeah.”

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Module 06: Phil Tatt & Trish Tatt
Handout 02 – Information sheet
The Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living (which produced these factsheets
that you are using) has a belief in the Social Model of Disability at its core.
Read the following extract about the Social Model of Disability from the Scope website:
The Social Model of Disability
The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather
than by a person’s impairment or difference. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life
choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and
equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives.
Disabled people developed the social model of disability because the traditional medical model
did not explain their personal experience of disability or help to develop more inclusive ways of living.
An impairment is defined as long-term limitation of a person’s physical, mental or sensory function.
Changing attitudes to disabled people
Barriers are not just physical. Attitudes found in society based on prejudice or stereotype, or
disablism, also disable people from having equal opportunities to be part of society.
Medical model of disability
The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised. The
medical model of disability says people are disabled by their impairments or differences.
Under the medical model, these impairments or differences should be ‘fixed’ or changed by
medical and other treatments, even when the impairment or difference does not cause pain
or illness.
The medical model looks at what is ‘wrong’ with the person, not what the person needs. It creates
low expectations and leads to people losing independence, choice and control in their own lives.
Social model of disability: some examples
A wheelchair user wants to get into a building with a step at the entrance. Under a social model
solution, a ramp would be added to the entrance so that the wheelchair user is free to go into the
building immediately. Using the medical model, there are very few solutions to help wheelchair users
to climb stairs, which excludes them from many essential and leisure activities.
A teenager with a learning difficulty wants to live independently in their own home but is unsure
how to pay the rent. Under the social model, the person would be supported so that they can pay
rent and live in their own home. Under a medical model, the young person might be expected to live
in a communal home.
A child with a visual impairment wants to read the latest best-selling book, so that they can chat
about it with their sighted friends. Under the medical model, there are very few solutions. A social
model solution makes full-text audio recordings available when the book is first published. This
means children with visual impairments can join in cultural activities with everyone else.

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www.cambridgeshirealliance.org.uk

Module 06: Phil Tatt & Trish Tatt
Handout 03 – Worksheet
Date:
Your name:
1) Both Phil and Trish would have preferred to attend a mainstream school rather than one
specifically for children with disabilities. Write down one reason why a school specially adapted
for the needs of children with disabilities might actually be better for the children.

2) Look at the examples on the information sheet about the Social Model. Think of a similar
example whereby a person with a disability would have a different experience depending on the
application of the social model or the medical model.

3) In pairs, go out and examine various aspects of your school to see where adaptations could be
made to make accessibility easier for children with a disability. Use the template below to enter
your findings:
Area of school

Accessibility Issue

Possible solution

4) What are your opinions on mainstream schooling for children with disabilities as opposed to
specialised schooling? Write your thoughts below:

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Module 06: Phil Tatt & Trish Tatt
Handout 04 – Comment sheet
Date:
Your name:

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