School Dinners

Joanne Wacha: Ronald the Rat

Joanne Wacha was born in 1984 in Harrow, London. Joanne attended local mainstream primary and secondary schools and also spent time in hospital, attending the hospital school, after becoming ill at the age of thirteen. After school she went on to a local sixth form college, then a residential special college and then on to university.

Here Joanne talks about lunchtimes in primary school.


I went to a mainstream primary school and mainstream nursery and I don’t know, there were some, I don’t know, I just knew I was like really different and the main thing that made me different was that instead of bringing a lunch box to school like everybody else, they had their lunch box, My Little Pony or Batman lunch boxes, I had a flask with meat and rice in it and that was just weird and everybody was like looking at me and staring. What is that? What are you eating? Because my parents are from African backgrounds so that was quite normal for my mum to do. Good wholesome hot food but I always brought that back home so she stopped making me eat that cos I was obviously not eating it cos I just felt really different and weird from the other kids. So then I got a Ronald the Rat, I think it was, lunch box no better, cos it was blue and blue’s for boys and I was supposed to have a pink one but anyway, at least I got my lunch box.

Explore more

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

A selection of other stories...