Tuesday, 9 July 2013


The  Headteacher of the Foreland School at Broadstairs has told me in no uncertain terms that the offensive Spastic sign which prominently adorns the main entrance to his school will not be removed and that he "will entertain no further complaint about this matter".  He points out that "no other parent or visitor has ever complained about it (the sign). Presumably to alleviate my  concerns he then says "the sign will not be moving to the new  school when we move, hopefully in 2 years from now, and that it (the sign) would fade into history at that time".

Well I must confess to being gob-smacked by the Headteacher's  incredible insensitivity and arrogance towards a very serious issue. The fact that no-one has ever complained before doesn't mean there isn't anything wrong. More often than not people don't complain because they are afraid to do so, maybe as I am beginning to find out there might be reprisals,  or perhaps because they feel that nothing will happen. His arrogant assumption that he will  entertain no further complaints about the sign reminds me of Pride Coming  Before a Fall. Because like it or not the Headteacher of the Foreland School is accountable to other organisations and he will have to answer to them for his actions.

Lets begin with the Commission for Equality and Human Rights . This organisation is responsible for policing the Equalities Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty which forms part of the Act. The Public Sector Duty requires that Foreland School should
Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

It could be argued that the prominent display of a sign which uses terminology which is universally  accepted to be demeaning, insulting and abusive towards disabled people,  in a school used exclusively disabled students runs  contrary to the spirit of Public Sector Duty. This is something I looking into.

I also think that the Leader of Kent County Council and KCCs Cabinet Member for  Education may well have something say about this  unacceptable situation which  threatens to bring  the Foreland school into disrepute.

I have been in touch with SCOPE to seek their guidance and will be contacting disability campaign groups to seek their support.

The bottom line is this - we have a  Headteacher of a  special needs school who is charged with supporting and developing  the educational emotional and social needs of vulnerable disabled children,  who thinks that it's perfectly acceptable to have a prominent notice in his school which uses language which demeans and insults his disabled students. This cannot be morally right! In fact its downright distasteful and improper. I think that this Headteacher simply doesn't get it. Perhaps he might be better employed working for the Government's disability benefit assessors  ATOS.


  1. For goodness sake Ian. There are more important things to be focussed on than this. The Head teacher has given you your answer. It wasn't the answer you wanted but it's a compromise and it's enough. Now, leave him alone to get on with his job and get back to the important task of exposing corruption and weeding out incompetence. You are in danger of allowing yourself to get distracted.

  2. Come off it. This issue you are attempting to whip is surely a dead horse?

  3. For your information "The National Spastics Society" was founded in 1951 as a charity for children with cerebral palsy, and did much good work. It merged with "The British Council for the Welfare of Spastics" to become "The Spastic Society" in 1963 It changed its name to "Scope" in 1994. The sign does not offend me and should not offend anyone else who knows their history. Shame on you for seeking to make offence where none exists.

    1. Bemused no-one is doubting or criticising the good work of SCOPEs predecessor. However if care to take the time to read SCOPEs own account of why it changed it's name which is freely available on SCOPEs website and which I have linked to in my previous post on this issue, you will realise that SCOPE was deeply ashamed of its previous Spastic name, which they also recognised 20 years ago was very offensive, insulting and demeaning. Perhaps then you might become less bemused

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Ian

    Has a disabled child or adult disclosed their hurt to you about this?

  5. It does seem odd to me that the Spastic Society as it was, has modernised and changed its name for reasons we all should understand. But we seem to have here an individual here who wants to be part of a museum? This plaque is held in place by four screws? Simple enough to remove? Or is it really Ian that is the problem for this man?

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. This is a very interesting example about the use of words and how they offend people differently. How do you feel about someone who complains about the use of gay metaphors being offensive and inciting homophobia etc, then uses gay metaphors when discussing a local issue (say Transeuropa)?