Royal Blind School

43 Canaan Lane

Edinburgh

EH10 4SG

Tel: 0131 446 3120

Fax: 0131 447 9266

office@royalblindschool.org.uk

 

 

Jennifer Murray, Former Pupil

 

Jennifer Murray is determined, enthusiastic and she pushes herself. Born blind due to a premature birth, she has mild cerebral palsy and wears two hearing aids.

But none of that has prevented the 22-year-old from achieving her academic ambition of graduating with a first class honours degree in Spanish from the University of the West of Scotland. 

As part of her degree, Jennifer spent her third year teaching English in Murcia in south east Spain as part of the British Council English Language Assistants Programme. She then wrote her University dissertation on the Spanish education system and the integration of blind pupils. 

Jennifer plans to return to Spain to teach English again. She said: “This time I am going to work in Granada, Andalucía. I have applied to the British Council’s English Language Assistants programme again in order to teach English in a Spanish school. I wanted to go somewhere not too touristy where Spanish is the first language spoken.”

When Jennifer left the Royal Blind School she initially spent a year at Cardonald College in Glasgow doing an HNC in Social Sciences. “This acted as a bridge from the sheltered world of Royal Blind to the outside world”, said Jennifer. 

She then started her degree course at University of the West of Scotland. Third year was a mandatory year abroad teaching English in the country of your chosen language. She said: “At the start it was difficult as the host family were very busy doing their own things but I decided to stick it out.”

Jennifer got to know other English language assistants and got support from the Spanish RNIB. “My job was to bring the English language alive in a normal primary school and I also helped with outside activities. I spoke Spanish with my support worker and host family,” she said. 

“It was very interesting to see the differences - it’s more informal in Spain, kids don’t wear uniform and are more informal in the way they address the teachers. I wrote my dissertation on the Spanish education system and the integration of blind and visually impaired pupils. I liked the heat; I got quite a good tan. It was a fantastic year.”

Jennifer is vociferous about independent living skills and has a lot of happy memories of the Royal Blind School, the range of subjects, its relaxed environment and spending time with friends.