Gesher was founded by Ali Durban and Sarah Sultman, both parents of children with special educational needs (SEN), square pegs that did not fit into the round holes of mainstream education. Children who like so many others in the UK, were damaged, isolated, overwhelmed and eventually lost in the system.
Special Educational Needs and barriers to learning are not new challenges, neither are the labels that accompany them such as autism, dyslexia, chromosomal deletions, genetic mutations, Down’s syndrome and ADHD. Specialised education is not a new idea. The current UK model of educating children with special educational needs is broken. In turn, it is breaking and marginalising vulnerable children, and their parents, families and carers. No child should be invisible to society and damaged by school.
Ali and Sarah decided that no other family or child should have to live through their experience and pledged ‘to change the way children with special educational needs are taught and supported in the UK; and to give children and young people with special educational needs the futures they deserve’.
What started as an ambitious idea, came to life when Gesher Primary Special School opened in September 2017 with 7 children.