William Carter, 22, says having dyslexia made him into the person he is today.
A student who could not read until he was 13 has just earned a first-class honours university degree and is planning a career in academia and politics.
William Carter, now 22, has severe dyslexia and dyspraxia, and was put in the bottom set in all subjects at primary school and teased because he could not read.
He was referred to children’s mental health services due to feeling lonely after falling behind other pupils and being unable to participate in lessons.
Mr Carter, who received free school meals, was then sent on courses to prevent him from becoming a criminal when his school attendance fell.
He tried desperately to learn how to read and write at secondary school but was again put in bottom sets throughout his education there.Advertisement
He was eventually seen by a specialist, who gave him a diagnosis of severe dyslexia, which lead to a remarkable turnaround that saw him achieve high A-level results and be awarded the London Schools and the Black Child outstanding achievement award.ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW THIS ADVERT
Mr Carter has now graduated from the University of Bristol with a first-class honours degree in politics and international relations.
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He said that learning how to read and write “made the world more intelligible to me and, ultimately, made me more intelligible to the world”.
“Fundamentally, dyslexia made me who I am today,” he added.
He said he felt his role at school was to keep quiet in order to let the “more intelligent” pupils to learn.
“The fact that I, through luck and the support of others, ‘made it’ in spite of social-economic barriers shouldn’t justify our system and society,” he continued.
“Instead, it should challenge its core assumption – the false idea that those few who succeed are examples of a system working rather than a system in disrepair.”
Mr Carter said he plans to spend his career in academia, then politics before “turning this observation into actionable policies and politics”.
During his time at Bristol University, Mr Carter attended conferences around the world, spoke at the European Parliament and received several awards for his academic performance.
He and his academic adviser Dr Jonathan Floyd began planning an initiative to get political theory taught more widely in UK secondary schools.
They met with lords, MPs, educators and government officials to seek support for the scheme, which they hope to launch soon.
Mr Carter is now studying for a PhD in political geography at the University of California, Berkley, where he received a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.