If I Could Change Something

Richard Rieser: Papering Over the Cracks

Richard was born in 1948 in London. He attended private mainstream primary schools and then went to his local mainstream secondary school and on to university.

Here Richard talks about the need for role models.

  • Richard Rieser
  • Richard Rieser
  • Richard Rieser
  • Richard Rieser


I think young disabled people need role models, they need older disabled people to talk to them about what life is like with an impairment. You’re never going to get rid of your impairment; you’re going to have it your whole life. And so much of what passes for good inclusion is about papering over the cracks of people being disabled. And I’ve been in the union for thirty years, in the National Union of Teachers, I’ve been for twenty-one of those I was Vice Chair of the Disability Working Group, in fact I brought it onto the agenda in the National Union of Teachers, championing that there need to be more disabled teachers, and that we should get rid of the barriers like fitness to teach, which is still there. And you know, it hasn’t really progressed very much, which is one of the things, you know – everybody pays lip service to it. And yeah, it’s fine for people like me to be pioneers and use my experience, which I’ve talked about and written about a lot to try and change attitudes, but it hasn’t really changed and that’s what I find really depressing actually.

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