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First Published Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Luke Dicker and dog Poppy with the Malmesbury Young Citizen of the Year award

By Joe Ware

An autistic pupil expelled from Malmesbury Secondary School three years ago has been named as Malmesbury’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Luke Dicker, 17, of Hullavington, who also suffers from attention deficit disorder, has turned his life around and become a leading spokesperson for young people with autism since being expelled in Year 10.

Earlier this year he featured on the BBC’s Politics Show and questioned government minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry on the autism bill going through Parliament.

Luke was nominated for the award by Malmesbury town councillor Ray Sanderson and will go on to represent Malmesbury in the Rotary International Young Citizen of the Year Awards in 2010. Luke said: “I knew I had been nominated but it was a good surprise to be announced the winner. It has been nice to hear so many people saying lots of nice thing about me. But at the end of the day I’ve just made the best of a bad situation.”

Luke said he struggled to cope with mainstream schooling. He said: “At Malmesbury School I didn’t get on very well.

“The learning support staff were great but they just didn’t have the resources to deal with autistic students.

“I didn’t like the classes of 30 people and I found it really hard to concentrate.

“Also, people didn’t really understand my condition and I had some difficulties with other students.”

It was when Luke started school at Springfields, a specialist sports college in Calne, that he was able to get his schooling back on track.

He said: “Going to Springfields was the best thing that could have happened to me.

“All the staff are trained to deal with people with autism and the class sizes are small, only eight in each, so I found it much easier to concentrate.

“Also, the sport provides a physical outlet to deal with your anxiety and stress.”

He added: “Because I was in the middle of my GCSes I had to start from scratch and really get my head down.”

Luke has since praised the school at speaking engagements around the country.

He is about to sit the last of his GCSEs and complete an NVQ. He is thinking of studying motorsport engineering at Lackham College.

Source:   http://www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/news/4360833.Pupil_who_was_expelled_becomes_Malmesbury_s_Young_Citizen_of_the_Year/?ref=rss

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