• Learning about the Index in Use. A Study of the Use of the Index for Inclusion in Schools and LEAs in England
    Sharon Rustemier and Tony Booth, £16
    Centre for Studies in Inclusive Education (CSIE)

    This report examines the many different ways the CSIE Index for Inclusion has been used by primary and secondary schools and by LEAs in England. Using examples and case studies, the report illustrates the positive impact the Index can have on the inclusive development of school cultures, policies and practices.
    The report can be ordered directly from the CSIE at: inclusion.uwe.ac.uk/csie

    I Can’t Walk But I Can Crawl: Living with Cerebral Palsy Joan Ross, price £17.99 ISBN 1-4129-1872-3

    Paul Chapman Publishers

    Joan Ross, an adult with cerebral palsy, who has now retired, has written a lucid, unsentimental and moving account of her life. Anyone reading it will be struck by the ordinariness of Joan’s life, but also by her warm and exceptional personality. For education professionals the account of Joan’s early education is a ‘must read’ as the following extract makes clear.

    Mum had found a local infant school with buildings all on one level. The head teacher had agreed to accept me on condition that Mum would provide welfare and personal care throughout the day.

    I was put in a class taught by one of the older teachers. Mum was promised that they would teach me to read. Dad made a tray to tie on my chair to use as a desk. My large pushchair was called ‘The Spitfire’ after the British fighter plane used in the Second World War. The remarkable thing is that this was in 1945!

    Another extract illustrates Joan’s resilience and strength of personality, as well as the remarkable determination of her mum and a great head teacher.

    All went well [at the local infant school] for six weeks. Then, I announced that I had left school. I would not say why. Eventually, my mum had found out what was wrong. ‘They call me a ‘baby’ because I am in a pushchair,’ I said. Mum went to speak to the headteacher. She told my mum that if she could persuade me to come back to school, she would sort it out. I don’t know how Mum managed to persuade me to return to school. The day I returned, the headmistress explained in assembly that there was one little girl who was in a pushchair because her legs did not work properly and she was unable to walk. She said that I was very clever and certainly not a baby. After this I loved school, especially the stories.

    The rest of the book, which is so engaging that it can be read in a couple of hours, offers a vivid account of exclusive and inclusive experiences that span a fulfilling and happy life. As well as being of interest to educators, Joan Ross’s autobiography would be worth including as a text for pupils following the citizenship curriculum in secondary schools.