Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

4.1 A changing policy landscape

Until 1971, people like Bernie were labelled ‘ineducable’. There was no school place for her.

Watch this video in which Bernie’s brother, Phil, explains.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 8
Skip transcript: Video 8

Transcript: Video 8

PHIL
So Bernadette got to school age, and there was nothing. And I remember my father fighting long and hard to get something for her and constantly getting rebuffed to the extent that when it came round to rates time, he went up to the town hall, and he put the money on the desk and said that's my rates, and I've deducted the education bit because you won't educate my daughter.
Eventually, Bernadette got into a training centre. And that was what was accepted then. Bernadette loved that. But it wasn't really preparing her for later life. It was keeping her occupied.
End transcript: Video 8
Video 8
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Bernie’s life began to change in response to the 1971 White Paper, which said more community services were needed for those with learning disabilities. She first of all got a place at a training centre, which provided day time activities and non-paid work, and then moved into a residential home when her parents reached their seventies and decided they needed to find Bernie a home of her own. Both were set up in response to the Government’s paper.

However, it was after the Government’s White Paper, Valuing People, in 2001 that Bernie’s life really changed for the better.

Activity 7 Bernie's story

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch Phil talking about how Bernie’s life changed after Tony Blair’s Labour Government introduced ‘supported living’ following the 2001 Valuing People White Paper. As you watch, note down what it is about supported living that has made such an improvement to Bernie’s life.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 9
Skip transcript: Video 9

Transcript: Video 9

PHIL
Tony Blair can be a rather toxic name to mention, I know, in some ways. But as far as I'm concerned, he was brilliant because he and his government decided that the residential homes should be phased out and supported living used to replace it.
Now, that was ideal for Bernadette. So Bernadette has now been in her flat, a self-contained flat, with supported living for 11 years. She has, I think, about 26 hours a week of support.
She still does her activities-- going to age concern. She goes to a country pass club once a week as well, she still does Mencap, she goes swimming once a week. Whenever I run through what Bernadette's schedule is, I'm always amazed as it's far more involved and detailed than mine. Never seen her as happy as she has been for these past couple of years.
End transcript: Video 9
Video 9
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

The main improvements Bernie has noticed in her life since the Valuing People White Paper include:

  • She has her own self-contained flat.
  • She has 26 hours of support per week from staff who have known her a long time.
  • She has a full programme of activities.

Things have certainly come a long way since the only resource available to Bernie was Cell Barnes hospital.

LD_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371