Owain’s Story: getting ready for secondary school

ERIC Young Champion Owain talks about his experiences of moving from primary to secondary school.

I’m Owain and I have spina bifida, hydrocephalus and a neuropathic bladder and bowel. I self catheterise and have a Mic-Key button for bowel washouts. I can walk independently a little bit but also use crutches and a wheelchair at school.

How a school visit helped

For me, the transition from primary school to secondary school was good because I was able to visit the school before I was due to start. I had a look around which meant I knew where everything was and where I should go. They showed me where the facilities were and then where the toilets and the lift was. The staff also talked about where things were and told me I’d be shown around again on the first day with the rest of the year sevens.

The school timetable

When the school term actually started they let me and my friend leave 5 minutes early from lessons. Because we are so low down, if we had left at the same time as everybody else we could have got crushed by 1200 pupils without them noticing!

Whenever I needed the loo, teachers were understanding and always said “Yes you may go”. During the first few weeks I needed to go to the hub and stretch my legs, which they let me do. After I stretched my legs I would return to my class and continue my day.

At the end of the school day I would leave ten minutes early so I could get to my taxi home.

Advice for others

My advice to anyone making the move from primary to secondary would be to visit the school before you start and ask about adjustments in advance. ERIC’s School Toilet Charter is a good thing to show them.

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