An activist striving for Equality – Claudes SEN Law Interview.

By Joana Alarcão

Magazine - Social Justice

In our day in age, sometimes can be a challenge to navigate new environments and face the reality that some communities are denied basic rights just because they are deemed unfit. However, some individuals strive to bring change and take action. Young Activist Aquayemi-Claude Garnett Akinsanya is one of them, creating the UK petition, Claudes SEN law, that looks to fight inequality within the special needs education community. The individuals from these communities are denied basic educational rights, which hinders their development and progression to the workplace. Therefore, today, Claude comes to share his story and the story behind the campaign, so you can to, raise awareness of this cause and help reach 10.000 signatures to reform UK governmental laws.

Before talking about your project Claudes SEN Law, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a 23-year-old Student, Youth Delegate, Author, Campaigner and Philanthropist who believes in a decent standard of education to be delivered as a result of my own challenges of still being denied education – from 2017 till now- which is 4 years of lost provision which was unelected.

I am legally lawful entitled to Education. Like millions of SEN families and young adults, which have to face these challenges for years. That’s why I came up with the idea of (The Claudes SEN Law)

When did you decide to take part in helping causes like this? Have you ever been part of other projects similar to this one?

Since I was young, I’ve always been a charitable person. Which is within my nature. I’ve always had a sense of empathy, level of understanding for others.

I honestly believe we can live in an equal, inclusive world. Where our voice is heard for what we are equally entitled to.

I’ve just been working on my first ( of two ) books which was released on 6th April 2020.

Yes, recently I’ve been part of some youth projects to help my message and growth of understanding for change. Whilst I call for action in regards to “The Claudes SEN Law.”

After years of unelected lost provision within my education, I’ve been in more court cases than an educational environment. Currently, my local authority refuses to name my placement, which was given to me successfully! Following tribunal hearing back on March 11th 2020. The decision was legally binding. The local authority was barred from hearing.

This was the catalyst for the creation of “The Claudes SEN Law.” I found that home studying does not work for me. The local authority has refused to follow the court decision, trying their very best to deliver my Education through Zoom and other tuition. Which is rather impossible when you are homeless without equipment and do not study well this way.

How was the Claudes SEN law formed? Why is this project important for you?

I first created my research with assistance from my mother and other stories like my own. Then I created “The Claudes SEN Law UK Petition, which calls for the government to make changes and take action within UK Laws. ( Which was created on 10th December 2020.)

At the same time, on the 16th June 2020, a Change.org Petition was also created.

The Claudes SEN Law is important because: “If we don’t make the change, how is change going to be made and delivered in the current climate. Levelling up and improvement to education is acknowledged throughout the UK. However there is no fundamental law to provide this safe delivery. Only words and rhetoric. We are The voice of our future as students we can lobby for action and for education to come into the 21st Century.”

What issues are you trying to tackle? What message are you trying to get through?

The Message I am trying to get through is the importance of studying. In an educational environment that is inclusive and listens to SEN families and young adults. The Claudes SEN Law also calls for action in regards to Neurodiversity, Hidden Disabilities, Disabilities.

Errors in the current inadequate system result in the following

  • Youth homelessness,

  • sofa surfing,

  • deprivation

  • and also leads to severe mental health issues.

Reform in the SEN current provision would also allow better outcomes and eliminate a good percentage of these casualties in the SEN society. Reflecting also more favourable outcomes in work placements, reform to the EHCP plan (Educational Healthcare Plan), reform to PIP (Personal Independent Payment system) and our Courts system. These topics are currently not highlighted anywhere.

In terms of educating the public about this issue of inequality, what resources are you using?

° News Articles

° Social Media Platforms °

Videos

° Individual Stories

° Facts and statistics Which can also be found on my socials.




What concrete milestone are you trying to reach?

My UK Petition milestone is to achieve 10,000 signatures before the 10th of June. For everyone to spread the important message of awareness in regards to “The Claudes SEN Law by joining #TheClaudesSENLaw Challenge and #TheClaudesSENLaw Social Media Storm.

Also to support the important awareness of The Claudes SEN Law UK Petition and International Campaign so that we can reach 10,000 signatures before the 10th June 2021.

What challenges have you faced so far, trying to raise awareness of Special Education Needs Inequality?

Getting the awareness out there in regards to The Claudes SEN Law at first. My own hidden disabilities and my personal situation has been challenging at all times.

My own empowerment, being denied an education and facing Youth Homelessness, sofa surfing.

Being denied and stripped away from my Personal Independent Payment as a result of having hidden disabilities and epilepsy. Facing the fact that the Educational Health Care Plan only goes to 25, When I am 23 years old.

Facing local authorities who do not deliver and refuse to comply and listen. UK court system has immigration judges dealing with court cases that are educational matters and require experience in this field. Total disaster.

Where can we find you to give our support?

Social Media- #TheClaudesSENLaw on all social media platforms. Instagram: @a_claude_2020 https://instagram.com/a_claude_2020?igshid=17sj3rgonqwil

Twitter: @Iam_Claude25 https://twitter.com/Iam_Claude25?s=09 Facebook: @a_claude_2020 (The Claude’s SEN Law) https://www.facebook.com/TheClaudesSENLaw/ YouTube: (The Claude’s SEN Law) https://youtube.com/channel/UCdiHmd9HiR0ach7SRPTjEVg

Finally, what is the next step to the project?

Action being manifested and circulation of the UK Petition.

Useful Links UK Government Petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/562587

Change.Org Petition: https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-the-claude-s-sen-law-making-a-new-law-for-education

The Claudes SEN Law website: https://tap.bio/@a_claude_202

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