Penny Robertson founded the Australian International School in Indonesia in 1996 (now the Australian Independent School) with a group of parent educators. The first campus in Pejaten had 11 students. Today, Penny is renowned throughout Asia for her work in inclusive education, and in April was awarded the 2015 SENIA Asian Advocacy Award (the Special Educational Needs Network in Asia) at the joint EARCOS and SENIA Teacher’s Conference held in Malaysia.
What does the SENIA Asian Advocacy Award mean to you and why is it important?
It is a huge honour to receive the Advocacy Award from the Special Educational Needs Network in Asia; I am thrilled. To see the SENIA organisation grow so quickly and bring together so many people working for inclusive education is very exciting. When interested professionals come together to share and exchange ideas it acts like an accelerant to change, and the change is often quite fundamental.
How did your journey into advocacy for special educational needs begin? What was your background in education?
I was a geology lecturer and high school science teacher in Adelaide until my second daughter, Shona, was born with Down Syndrome, which was the start of a long and extremely interesting journey for the whole family. Shona started…