Zara Todd: The Caterpillar Contraption

Zara was born in 1985 in London. She attended a special school initially, then transferred to mainstream at the age of seven. She continued with mainstream education at secondary and then went on to university.

Here Zara talks about the battle her mum fought to get her into a local mainstream middle school.


My middle school didn’t want me there. They made it very clear before I was even applying to go to the school. They weren’t an accessible school, they were one of the highest rated in the borough for student achievement and a combination of not having access and being very, very image conscious, they didn’t want me at this school. However they were my local school and my mum was very keen for me to go there. To start with she lobbied the local council for them to put a lift into the school and the council refused on the ground of cost, so it looked like I was going to have to be sent to another school, comparatively a long distance away. And then my mum happened to go through Clapham Junction Station and see a contraption that I can only describe as a cross between a tank and a trolley that could take wheelchair users up, upstairs. And so she took it to the local authority as an alternative to them putting in a lift and they agreed with that alteration, which then meant that the school didn’t have any grounds to bar my entry. However they made it very, very clear that they still didn’t want me at the school.

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