M’s story

Boy with guide dog

Support when we needed it

At a particularly difficult time, when our son was denied a place at a mainstream school, we contacted The Royal Pinner Educational Trust to ask for help. 

Having been diagnosed with cancer at the age of 18 months, our son unfortunately lost his eyesight completely in both eyes.  As you can imagine, this was a very difficult and stressful time for the whole family.  He made a full recovery from the illness, but the sight loss was permanent and our journey with his disability started.

The early days

Our son attended our local mainstream primary school and did very well.  The staff learned Braille and they appointed a one-to-one helper. 

Over time we needed to look at applying for secondary schools for him and this is where the problems started. 

Our local secondary school made it very difficult and quite clear they did not want him to attend.  They had never had a blind pupil and were concerned it would cost too much money and have a detrimental effect on the learning of other pupils.  We were not happy with this opinion and we now had to look at alternative options.

Support when we needed it

Our son already attended swimming lessons at another local school so we contacted them to see what options were possible.  During discussions they told us they had never had a blind pupil, but they were willing to look at how they could accommodate him.  It was during these discussions that the school informed us about The Royal Pinner Educational Trust and how they might be able help, so we contacted The Trust to see what they thought.

First blind pupil

As a result of their fantastic support, our son has been able to attend a school as their first blind pupil, giving him a first-class education.  Together with Royal Pinner, the school had a “can do” attitude, which was fantastic and a huge relief. 

There was of course a huge learning curve with new equipment, staff and changes to the school building itself.  Lessons had to be converted into Braille and teachers had to find different ways to teach him.  The teachers have since said that they learnt more from him than they ever thought they would and have become better teachers for it. 

Royal Pinner’s Impact

Royal Pinner initially helped us with the fees and then with other educational costs, which enabled our son to make the most of the opportunities afforded to him at the school.

Working with Royal Pinner and the school has enabled our son to thrive in his education when it seemed impossible.   He successfully passed A Levels and BTEC qualifications and is now studying for a degree at a local university.  Not only did he get a first-class education, but our son also felt just like any other pupil and was included in most activities including the house swimming competitions!

It is sometimes difficult to ask for help and a lot of the time you don’t appreciate or understand what is available. I would highly recommend talking to the Trust.  They are extremely nice, approachable people, very understanding and more than willing to help where they can.  It was one of the best decisions we made for our son and we will be eternally grateful for their support.