AO of the year

English Speaking Board (International) celebrates Neurodiversity Week: Spotlight feature on ESB Patron and Disability Rights Champion, Dr Kush Kanodia

English Speaking Board (International) Ltd. is delighted to be supporting Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2024, an initiative that provides a platform to celebrate the achievements and strengths of neurodiverse individuals and foster a society that truly embraces the diversity of minds.

For 70 years, ESB has been dedicated to unlocking the potential of all of its learners through the development of Oracy and English language. As part of its mission, the organisation has a long-term commitment to supporting neurodivergent learners. Those of our learners who have additional learning needs can have our assessments modified to remove barriers to assessment to enable all to demonstrate what they can do.

It is so vital to ESB that all learners can access and achieve, that we created a unique portfolio of oracy qualifications designed specifically for learners with significant learning needs. These learners are often in specialist settings, an environment and curriculum that enables and unlocks their potential.    

Says ESB’s Chief Executive, Tina Renshaw:

We all want to be seen, be heard and understood, and for our strengths to be appreciated and for barriers to learning to be removed. Our Oracy portfolio is accessible and can be adapted to many of our learners who may describe themselves as neurodivergent. We are proud that this portfolio includes specialist Oracy qualifications for learners with significant learning needs furnish these learners with experiences that can help to remove barriers to learning by enabling access to a wide range of curricula, building relationships and a sense of belonging, and developing self-esteem and a positive self-identity.

Imagine the impact that sense of empowerment and achievement has on any learner but especially learners who often face systemic barriers that they and their families and carers have to overcome to allow them to flourish.

You can hear more about our work from one of our valued centres providing a specialist environment, Aurora Foxes, a residential college and training hotel for 16-25-year-olds based in Somerset. Learn more about how ESB assessments help prepare learners with significant learning needs for work and life.

As part of Neurodiversity celebration week, ESB shines the spotlight on Dr. Kush Kanodia, ESB’s new Patron and a prominent disability rights activist.

Dr. Kanodia carrying the torch during the 2012 Paralympic Games in London

Dr Kanodia was drawn to ESB after hearing of its Outreach Campaign, which financially supports organisations and groups whose learners face disadvantage due to poverty, migrant or asylum seeker status, or special educational needs and disabilities.

He is a renowned disability and rights champion and social entrepreneur. He has had a monumental life journey, being a London Olympics Torchbearer in 2012 and being a key driving force for change for disabled peoples’ rights through transforming systems.

Dr Kanodia was the seminal figure in removing NHS England car parking charges at hospitals, which many claim was the most impactful positive change for disabled people since the formation of the NHS. He has recognised systematic barriers and worked with Premier League Football clubs, including Chelsea, to make their stadiums more accessible for disabled people; he has worked on other high profile projects including campaigning for ULEZ fairness for disabled drivers. He also holds an honorary doctorate at Kent University in recognition of his achievements.

On a recent visit to Cornwall, Dr Kanodia was interviewed by Dr Theo Blackmore PHD, a Disability Researcher and host of the ‘Discover Voices’ podcast, on the issue of finding confidence as a disabled person.

Says Tina, “We look forward to Dr Kanodia getting involved in ESB’s mission to remove barriers for learners. I am in no doubt the positive impact that he will bring to our work.”

Are you keen to learn more about ESB’s Oracy qualifications for all learners which can be seamlessly integrated into your curriculum and made accessible?

ESB offers a full suite of Oracy qualifications that can be adjusted for learners. Please click here to find out more.

In addition ESB offers four categories of qualifications for learners with significant special educational needs and disabilities aged 16 and over who do not hold a Level 1 qualification or higher.

For more information, please email us at to arrange a meeting with our CEO, Tina Renshaw. We would be delighted to hear from you.

English Speaking Board (International) is committed to continuing its work to support neurodivergent learners and promote neurodiversity awareness in our society.