Nerida Bodycote and daughter Madi discuss their journey at school

Nerida was part of the development of the Disability Strategy and gave valuable insights from a parent/carer perspective. Nerida is very passionate about inclusive education; her daughter goes to a mainstream school and is in a mainstream class.

She was “really excited to be given the opportunity to talk about how the education system can be improved so that all children can benefit from attending school in an inclusive environment and I’m pleased to hear that families like ours who participated in the process are being listened to."

Learn more about Nerida and Madi’s journey through a mainstream school.

Nerida and Madi

Nerida "I was overcome with emotion when I finally heard the words “we will make it work” from a wonderfully forward thinking principal during a conversation about Madi starting school.

I knew we had found the right place in that moment.  I had found exactly what we were hoping for, a school that saw the positives and not the negatives and more importantly saw Madi and not her disabilities.

There are many people within the department who are passionate about inclusion.  I’ll never forget the day a really wonderful man from the assets department came to look at the school, before Madi started, to see what had to change from an accessibility point of view.

He said: “The disabled toilet is currently right up the back of the school. That’s not good enough, it needs to be close to everything and it needs to have a shower, a hoist and a locker”.

I said: “You’ve done this before, haven’t you!?” and he said: “I get a kick out of making schools accessible so that kids like your daughter can go to a mainstream school.”

I could tell his heart was in it.

With the help of our team of therapists including speech, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, we all worked collaboratively with the school to allow for a smooth transition for Madi into primary school.

Madi loves being at school, she loves seeing all her friends.  She asks everyday, including weekends and school holidays, if she can go to school!!

Madi has had such a positive impact on teachers, students and their parents/carers.  The school is regarded as a place where all students are welcomed.

Inclusive education benefits the entire school community, not just the child with the disability.  I have had many a parent tell me how lucky they are that Madi attends the school as their kids are learning valuable life lessons about empathy, compassion, disability and difference. Lessons they perhaps may not learn until later on in life.

We are all different in so many ways and we can all make a contribution to society. Not everyone can make the same contribution and acknowledging our differences is the epitome of inclusion."

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