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‘Nightingale’ still singing

All children belong in the community – a government mantra from the 1980s, softening us up, some say, for the closure of many special schools in the decade that followed.

Alan Share, the author of the play Death of a Nightingale, was governor of a special school for 17 years. With a background in law and industry, he understands only too well the corruption of economics as well as language that led to the closure of over 100 special schools during the late 1990s and early 2000s. His play, directed by Tom Scott at Hampstead’s New End Theatre last spring, was a cri de coeur – part of the campaign to save his own school as a place of shelter and excellence, preserving the fragile self-esteem and learning environment for children with physical and learning difficulties.

Set in 2002, when the inclusion debate was at its height, Death of a Nightingale tells the story of the closure of the fictional Brighouse School, whose

Continued on p11


Talking with Max and Romina

Me: Did you enjoy being in the play?

Max: I liked the whole thing, acting, being on stage, working with the others. It was terrific.

Romina: My character was very good and everything about it was clear.

Me: Do you like being in a special school?

Max: Yes, it makes me confident, I feel special and I make friends.

Romina: Yes, people here are kind and respectful. People understand if I need help. It makes my life much happier.

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