Accessibility for pupils with disabilities
The Equality Act 2010 says that all council-maintained schools and academies must make themselves increasingly accessible so pupils with a disability can benefit as fully as possible from the facilities and learning opportunities available. They cannot discriminate against pupils because of their physical or mental disability, or some medical conditions, like HIV, MS and cancer.
This means they must continually aim to:
- Improve the physical environment for disabled pupils
- Increase the time disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum
- Ensure disabled pupils have appropriate learning materials
Find accessible local schools
We monitor schools and apply a school accessibility rating.
Each school also publishes details in its own prospectus and accessibility plan. This sets out how it is making reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled pupils aren't disadvantaged in comparison with others. They may do this, for example, by providing extra support or equipment so that a student can participate more fully in the school day.
Making reasonable adjustments
All schools and settings are required to make reasonable adjustments to prevent a disabled child being put at a disadvantage. Typically, this will be the provision of additional classroom materials and resources. This will be provided through funding from the school budget under the scheme of delegation. In some very specific instances, the scale, the cost of provision or the highly specialist nature of the equipment may mean the aids cannot reasonably be provided by the school. In these circumstances the local authority (or the NHS where appropriate) would provide the equipment as a loan to the school.
Where a school needs to make a 'reasonable adjustment' to enable a young person to participate in the school day, the school will be responsible for classroom items costing £750 or less.
Schools are expected to provide items such as:
- Writing slopes
- Posture packs
- Sound recording devices and
- Other items that may be reasonably used in the classroom
Specialist and individualised items
For specialist and individualised items (items specific to the child that could not be reasonably used for other young people in the school), schools should approach the local authority.
Examples of specialist and individualised items include:
- Supportive seats and toilet seats/frames (under £750)
- High cost aids (over £750) such as radio hearing aids, sound field systems and some specialist seats
Another exception to the £750 threshold would be where a lower cost item was an integral part of a more expensive specialist piece of equipment, for example a replacement arm rest or leg restraint for a specialist chair.
Our Accessibility strategy for schools sets out plans for how we are making sure this happens throughout the county.
If you would like to know more, get advice on the duties of a school or academy, or are a teacher who would like support, please contact Les Knight (Head of Additional Needs), email Les.Knight@herefordshire.gov.uk or call 01432 261724.