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How to make your school more accessible to disabled students – Part 1

School Accessibility

How to make your school more accessible to disabled students – Part 1 – Legislation and general advice

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.

Why should I make my school accessible for disabled students?

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!

So what adjustments would I need to make for a disabled student?

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.

What are the main areas I need to consider?

Broadly speaking the main areas to consider are

  • Access to school. Can the school be accessed safely? Are any additional ramps, handrails or lifts required? Which areas will the student need to access and is access clear to these areas. Rather than making changes to all areas, you may wish to move rooms around, for instance if you have a classroom near a hygiene room, that classroom may be better suited for the student.
  • Access to learning. What additional resources are required for the child to access the curriculum. This may be learning resources, specialist software or computer hardware, or other enabling devices that will facilitate the learning process.
  • Personal care. One of the most sensitive areas when looking after a student with special physical needs, especially in Senior Schools as bodily changes are taking place, we will deal with this in more detail later in this series.
  • Emergency Procedures. One of the most important areas to consider is how evacuation can take place in the event of an emergency. Particularly important in schools with two storeys, and if your student has seizures or other conditions.

Contact us today

Any questions or need further assistance? Call us today on 0800 298 6000 or email sales@multicaremedical.co.uk