April – July 2007

Well, here it is again – the summer term! Always a welcomed time of year in the One For All calendar, as it is one of our busiest, so no time to think about closing business just yet! It has been an especially busy time for Lindsey, as this term marks the end of her most stressful year yet and with it the completion of her degree. I t was definitely worth all of the stress and toil as Lindsey achieved a first – that’s fantastic, well done Lindsey! – another One For All recruit finishing their time in education and soon to embark on their long-awaited career! Although, Lindsey will have to wait until the autumn term to wear the cap and gown and make it official! But before the harsh reality of the working world sets in, Lindsey took a well deserved break in the Greek islands, to unwind after those gruelling final exams – and quite right too we say! Meanwhile, Maresa has also been working hard to complete another term of exams and come to the end of her third year at university. She is now in the middle of her course and has just two years to go, so the whole group will soon be proud graduates – how time flies! And now with the exams over, Maresa can set about the important task of organising her social calendar, which will begin with the Croprody music festival!

As for Lucy, well it is almost time to wrap up a whole school year and with it, her first year of instrumental teaching – what a fantastic experience it has been! The culmination of the year’s work has seen her putting her music degree to good use, engaging with a wide cross-section of pupils of all ages and abilities across Nottingham. She has enjoyed taking part in many fun-filled school concerts and this summer some of her pupils took their music exams for the first time ever and passed with flying colours – so well done to those kids! This year has certainly been a dramatic transformation for Lucy, from student to teacher and it has been very strange (but rewarding) to be the one the kids refer to as ‘Miss’ and being the teacher coaching pupils for exams, rather than being the pupil taking them!

So, you’re probably wondering if we have actually managed to keep up our inclusion work in the midst of our hectic personal schedules, but don’t worry, you can count on us! As promised, One For All were reunited on Wednesday 6th June 2007 at an international inclusion summer institute held at the Gateway hotel, Nottingham. Here we delivered a talk about our vision and the work we do, to an enthusiastic audience of inclusion allies old and new, from around the world – well we did say we wanted to take our message far and wide and we don’t like to disappoint! Maresa also did some more workshops of her own, with Lucia and Blake (See the workshop section for more info).

We are pleased to report that the work didn’t stop there because just weeks later, on Thursday 26th July, we were faced with our next big challenge, training the educational policy makers of the DfES (now known as the DCFS) in Sheffield! This was the first time in two years that the entire One For All team had been able to work together to provide practical inclusion training to new clients, so we were all very excited. It was also the first time that One For All had presented a workshop to such important figures in the education system. These are the people working at the top, on behalf of the Government, so it was very nerve racking! But we love a challenge, so more determined than ever to get our message across, we set to work creating some new activities to get our audience from behind their desks and actively involved in inclusive thinking!

Even more exciting was our chance to work alongside International Youth Activist group HEYA, led by Lucy Mason and Tom Minor. Working with HEYA reinforced our message even more. It was great to work with other young disabled and non-disabled people and they helped us to present a united front, to show the DCFS inclusion in action. The two groups complimented each other brilliantly and the entire 2 hour workshop went very well. Feedback suggested we provoked some positive thinking and questioned what our priorities in education should be. Unfortunately, due to time constraints we were unable to run all of the interactive activities we planned, but the DCFS are keen to work with us again so we hope to get them interacting very soon! We are also very excited about future collaborations with HEYA as this proved very productive and could really reinforce and diversify our work! So thank you HEYA – here’s to many more future ventures together! (Look out for further info on this workshop in the case studies section of the site – coming soon!)

Finally, before we go, I (Lucy) would like to make a very special announcement which is definitely the highlight of my year! On Sunday 17th June 2007 (Father’s day no less), I became an Aunty for the first time to baby Joshua Andrew Icke (7lb 10oz). Congratulations to the proud new parents, big sis Jane and Brother-in-law Andrew, on their beautiful baby boy – my gorgeous little nephew!

And on that happy note we’d better sign off and set to work arranging a well deserved One For All day out to celebrate all of our hard work so far, before the next lot kicks in!