Wheelchair tennis star calls for more inclusivity in PE lessons

Norwich wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop in action.

Norwich wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop in action. - Credit: Tennis Foundation

A Team GB wheelchair tennis star has won the backing of a Norwich MP for her campaign for more inclusive PE lessons for children with disabilities.

Ruby Bishop, who is also eighth in the world for girl’s wheelchair tennis and hopes to compete in the Paralympics, is campaigning against discrimination against people with disabilities within physical education.

The 17-year-old former student of Sprowston Community Academy faced challenges throughout her school life due to her disabilities which include cerebral palsy.

She said despite her love of wheelchair basketball and tennis she often felt excluded from PE lessons, sometimes left indoors on a computer while fellow pupils did sport. 

Teacher coaching young pupils on basketball.

Ruby Bishop is campaigning against discrimination in sport and for more inclusive PE lessons for people with disabilities. - Credit: Getty Images

“It’s not a nice feeling really because you already feel different enough compared to others and when the teachers are making that even more obvious it is not great,” she said.


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“PE teachers tend to just want to go to what they know, like a football session or let's all play rounders, the basics. Whereas if they had a little bit more time and knowledge they would be able to make the adaptations.”

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who helped Ruby access outdoor tennis facilities in Sprowston to train during lockdown, has written to all headteachers in her constituency urging them to back the campaign.

Wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith on Zoom call

Wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith on Zoom call about her campaign for more inclusive PE lessons. - Credit: Submitted

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She has also included a copy of a booklet produced by Ruby with resources to help teachers include those with disabilities.

She said: “Ruby's campaign highlights a really important issue - no one should be left out from reaching their full potential.”

Ruby, who is also an assistant coach at Tennis Able and volunteers with the Community Sports Foundation, added: “This campaign means a lot to me. Sport has given me a sense of purpose, however I know it can still be difficult for disabled students to be included in PE lessons from experience. 

Norwich wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop (front right) with junior silver medal.

Norwich wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop (front right) with junior silver medal. She hopes to compete at the Paralympics. - Credit: LTA

“I would hate for anyone to feel the same way, which is why I’m really happy that Chloe has decided to back my campaign and send the booklet to schools. 

“I hope the school’s acknowledge and use the booklet the best way they can so that no is left out.”

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