In this blog we will be looking at the question ‘How can I make my school accessible to disabled students’. Many schools when faced with the challenge of looking after disabled children face a lack of resource and support and we hope this blog will help and demonstrate how you can meet this challenge.
The Equality Act 2010 says that all council-maintained schools and academies must make themselves 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 that you must continually aim to improve your physical environment for disabled pupils whilst also increasing the time they can participate in the curriculum and ensure they have appropriate learning materials.
However, the law does take into account “reasonable adjustments”. If in order to make your school accessible to disabled you would have to knock it down and rebuild it, it could be argued that this is not reasonable!
The level of adjustments you have to make depend entirely on the level of disability that you are working with. It may be that in order to stand at a toilet, all that is needed is a grab rail in the correct place, for a more disabled student, a full hygiene room with a ceiling hoist, changing couch and specialist toilet may be required.
Broadly speaking the main areas to consider are
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