With International Literacy Day taking place today, Tanya Sweeney in the Irish Independent speaks to two Irish adults who struggled at school but have now found support.
Lisa Banks hated school as a child. Relentlessly bullied, left behind in an overcrowded classroom and struggling with the workload, she left the class of her school in Dublin’s Clondalkin one afternoon a few days after starting first year of secondary school and effectively ended her education.
“When I look back on it now, we were from a disadvantaged area,” Lisa, who now lives in Kilkenny, reflects. “I was told one day I had the wrong uniform and that was it. I never went back.”
It was only much later that Lisa realised that an underlying condition might have hampered her learning. “I suspect I might have had ADHD or learning difficulties. It always took me ages to memorise things.
“I never blamed the teachers – they were dealing with that they had,” Lisa continues. “It was an overpopulated area so it was easy to be let go through the cracks. In fact, I never blamed the staff for it. It’s those that are over them are the ones with the rules.
“I don’t understand how you could be let go through school and have that happen to you. It still happens to this day, if you don’t get the additional help you need. And if you do need additional help in school, it shouldn’t be as expensive as it is.
Lisa left school with big dreams to work in the caring professions, yet with below-par literacy levels and spelling, it would turn out to be a challenging road.