Ann Torode: Bean Bags

Ann was born in 1943 in Dulwich, London. She was sent to a special primary school, then known as an 'educationally sub-normal' school until her mother won a battle to have her moved to her local mainstream primary school. From there Ann went on to a girls' grammar school and afterwards to university.

Here Ann talks about having to fit in.


We had this thing called drill. It was just after the war, where everybody was regimented, so there was no relaxed PE, you had to march round like that, you know, with a bean bag on your head. Of course if one leg’s shorter than the other, the bean bag didn’t last on my head. But they didn’t take that into account because my condition for being there was that I was non disabled. I was there on sufferance as a non disabled person and I had to fit in.
So they made no exceptions for me and I remember my headmistress in the grammar school said 'We won’t make any exceptions for you at all, you have to go to games'. I had to walk to games and play games because that was their idea of including people. That you were the same as them, not that there were different things you needed, that you were exactly the same and so you had to fit in and you couldn’t whinge because if you did, it showed, you weren’t playing the game.

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