Michelle Daly: Bullying

Michelle was born in 1972 in Newham, London. She attended a local special school from age five until sixteen and then went on to a local mainstream college.

Here Michelle talks about bullying throughout her school.


Bullying? Bullying was rife in our school and I think that, when I speak to most people who’ve gone to a segregated school, we will shared this experience and I think bullying in a segregated school possibly could be worse because you know what it’s bullying about and often the bullying was usually on children who had the highest support needs. Because it was all about those youngsters who had the less impairment were seen as the most mobile or maybe the most able and the ones who had the more higher support needs were the ones who usually got picked on the most. And also I think the teachers encouraged it. I think teachers encouraged it. I remember an incident, we were coming back, I think it was Alton Towers or Thorpe Park, I can’t remember which one it was and one of the youngsters in our group who had gone on the trip with us had had an accident and on the way down the teachers were like 'Cor that person smells'. Teachers? actually welfare staff, 'Smells' and they just took the stuff she was sitting on and threw it out the coach and encouraged us to laugh. So they encouraged a lot of bullying by the things that they did as well. Oh no, we didn’t have conversations about stop bullying. You may have had teachers saying that may not be the right thing to do but there was never classroom discussions about what’s appropriate or what’s not appropriate, or there was nothing like that. You saw bullying in every year. Kids were always getting picked on, always, and actually when you think back, the children with the higher support needs were the most excluded because they often weren’t supported to engage in anything. They often had separate tables for eating at lunchtime because they needed support with feeding. In the classrooms they were often separated with welfare staff because they needed maybe support with scribing. And often if there was a school trip they would be separated in another bus because they may need support with toileting or whatever, other needs. So yeah, they were often, individuals with the higher needs were the ones who most often got picked on or singled out. And that was never... actually I don’t think, if you’d gone to a mainstream school, those things would have happened.

Explore more

Explore stories by theme or view the timeline of significant events in education for disabled people

A selection of other stories...