So what a surprise to learn that a Thanet school which is supposed to be supporting and caring for disabled and vulnerable students, including 2 of my daughters, thinks that it's perfectly OK to have a large prominently displayed sign in it's main entrance which uses what is now universally acknowledged to be a term of serious abuse, the word Spastic.
OK the sign is old and commemorates a donation made to the school by the charitable organisation then know as the Spastic Society. But don't forget the fact that the Spastic Society was forced to change its name to SCOPE almost 20 year ago (1994) following years and years of mounting public pressure and criticism against it's appallingly offensive title. Here is an account of the Spastic Society name change. I only wish the powers that be at Foreland School had read this and perhaps they would have removed this unacceptable sign years ago!
Over the past couple of years I have raised my concerns informally with the previous and current headteachers of the Foreland School. They both failed to take action. Their lack of action suggests to me that they are totally unconcerned about the impact that the word spastic has on thousands of vulnerable people who find themselves at the receiving end of verbal abuse and bullying and sometimes worse. It suggests to me that as leaders of special schools who should be sensitive to these issues, they have lost their moral compass. Because allowing this sign to remain in place for so long is, in my opinion, an unprofessional and uncaring act which brings shame to the Foreland School.
I have raised my concerns with OFSTED who inspected the school two weeks ago and will now be submitting a formal complaint to the school.
I think the school should remove this inappropriate and unacceptable sign as quickly as possible and ask SCOPE to provide a new sign without the offensive words. There is no place in 21st century Britain for lending credibility to discredited, old-fashioned and offensive ideas and attitudes. The Foreland headteacher should do the right thing.