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What Reasonable Adjustments need to be made in a school?

All schools have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled individuals are able to access their services. This applies even if they don’t currently have disabled pupils and whether they know if their pupils are disabled or not. Therefore, schools must think in advance and have adjustments in place for when they are needed.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to all schools that provide services to others, protecting pupils from discrimination if they have a ‘protected characteristic’. The act introduced protection from three forms of disability discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination because of disability in relation to goods, facilities and services
  • Indirect disability discrimination
  • Discrimination arising from disability

Schools must ensure their policies and procedures are up to date to ensure a disabled person is not put at a disadvantage in comparison to a non-disabled person when accessing their services.

Schools also must ensure auxiliary aids or services are available to a disabled pupil whenever necessary to ensure disabled people who would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage are catered for. An Auxiliary aid is something that helps a person access a service (such as one to one or small group work).

There may be adjustments to physical features of a school to ensure disabled people can access the facilities and services. These can be the installation of ramps instead of stairs, accessible parking, doors that can easily be opened with a button instead of pulling, accessible toilets, washing facilities and lifts if necessary.

Official guidance states that the effectiveness, the cost, size and resources of the school should be considered when deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable.

If a physical feature makes it unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access the services, the school has a duty to take reasonable steps to either:

  • Remove the feature
  • Alter it so it no longer has this effect
  • Provide a means to avoid the feature

What is deemed as ‘reasonable’ varies based on the circumstances and must be looked at on a case by case basis.

If you would like more information with regard to reasonable adjustments, then please contact me on rwhippy@rebeccawhippysend.com for a free chat.