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Teacher paralysed by a rugby ball at school fights back against the odds

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 18, 2014

Sarah Banks

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Teacher Sarah Banks has defied the doctors by returning to the classroom.

Six years ago Sarah was walking down the corridor at the former Central Technology College when she was hit by a rugby ball.

Sarah fell and hit the back of her head, suffering head and spinal injuries. She is unable to walk and now uses a wheelchair.

Doctors told her that she would never teach again.

“Some doctors said ‘don’t be silly, you won’t teach again,” said Sarah, who lives in Kingsway, Gloucester with her husband Simon.

‘I spent a long time trying to knock the teacher out of me but that’s what I am. I see the world as a teacher.”

Last week the 41-year-old returned to the classroom by supporting arts tutor Sam Lucas at National Star College.

Three years ago Sarah signed up to ceramic classes at National Star as an adult learner.

“I’ve learnt so much. Sam’s so encouraging. I’m now helping with full-time students and I’d like to go back to teaching,” said Sarah. “Supporting Sam has really helped my confidence.

“Coming up to National Star has helped me massively. It’s been a long haul since my accident but I now feel that I have come out the other side. It’s opened a whole new life and the world has opened in other ways,” said Sarah.

“I’ve done some incredible things and met some wonderful people.”

She has just returned from a trip to Turkey with the National Star Creating Communties project for people with disabilities, where she took part in workshops of traditional Turkisk art.

Now she is thinking about returning to work as a teacher though is undecided whether she will work with young people or adult learners.

Sarah had only been at the Central Technology College for six months before the accident. Before that she taught at Severn Vale.

Now she is one of seven adult learners who have been shortlisted for the final of the Gloucestershire Adult Learners Award.

The awards, on Saturday May 17 at Shire Hall in Gloucester, are organised by Gloucestershire County Council.

“I started coming to National Star five years for the swimming. I didn’t even know then that they ran adult classes,” said Sarah. “I’ve learned a lot from the other students.”

The other National Star learners nominated for awards are: Stuart Evans from Churchdown; James Clarke from Gloucester, Laura Baker from Gloucester, Maria Hill from Cheltenham and Joseph Walters from Cheltenham.

To find out more about adult learners classes, call Carol Cape in the ACL Office 01242 534915 or email ccape@natstar.ac.uk

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