Parliament At Sunset

Dawn House Students speak to All Party Parliamentary Group for Children

Two students from Dawn House School spoke to the prestigious All Party Parliamentary Group for Children yesterday (Monday 17th December) as part of their inquiry on the question Are children and young people getting the opportunities they want?.

The meeting focused on ensuring schools support children and young people to enjoy learning and continue in education and training beyond 16.  Sam and Priya, who are both Dawn House further education (FE) students, gave their own speeches and presentations for the group of MPs and Lords about their education and their aspirations for the future.

Talking about their experiences of the day, Sam aged 18 said:

“It was an awesome feeling going into the Houses of Parliament. It was overwhelming. I had nervous butterflies in my stomach and I was out of my comfort zone.

When the meeting started, it felt surreal. Me. Sam Crowther telling people like Baroness Massey and OFSTED inspectors about my life story regarding speech and language difficulties. I was apprehensive. Would they understand me? Would they listen to me? But…. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone in the committee room was silent when I was reading my presentation. It felt like I was on top of the world.

I shared my views. Views from a teacher or a researcher are different. They don’t have speech and language needs-they think they know the whole story. I live it. I know what it is like. So it is even more important to have my views-from one who has speech and language needs always as a background.

After the meeting I think half the people in the committee room wanted to shake my hand and to talk to me about my speech and my life- and my ambitions for the future. That was a fantastic feeling; to be recognised and understood by government, M.Ps and especially by people from OFSTED.

I couldn’t keep the smile off my face afterwards.

So, I thank I CAN who invited me and gave me the opportunity and honour to represent them as well as those with speech and language difficulties, at the House of Lords.

The day was a landmark day. It will be a day that will be with me until I die.

It boosted my confidence to speak at the House of Lords.”

Priya, aged 17 said:

“What a good day at the Houses of Parliament. I spoke at a meeting. I was nervous. My throat was wobbly. I could feel people watching me. It was hard to read aloud. But people listened to me. They are interested. They don’t know how it feels to have speech and language difficulties. I said how hard it was for me to speak. I said what helps me. People with speech and language difficulties must have more help.

Baroness Massey said ‘Well done’ to me. Others said ‘Congratulations’.

Wow. I walked inside the Houses of Parliament. Long corridors. Prime Ministers have walked there. Huge statues of them.

It’s over. Taxi ride to the station. I sat on a little seat. Shops open. Lots of people. Sparkling lights. London Eye is bright. Capital radio– my radio station- is in London. I listen to them at home. It was great to home and rest. A big day for me!”

For more information on I CAN’s Dawn House School, go to www.dawnhouseschool.org.uk