Accessibility Planning in schools - a short re-cap
As it is the start of a new year, there is no better time to make sure that your school is up-to-date with their Accessibility Plan.
First of all - Schools must not discriminate against pupils with special educational needs due to their disability. They should promote the inclusion of special educational needs pupils in their admission arrangements and in all aspects of school life.
All schools must have an Accessibility Plan in place which which shows how they plan to improve accessibility for special educational needs pupils.
To prepare the plan a school must first commission an Access Audit. The plan must be published and anyone can ask to see it. It will outline how the school will:
improve the physical environment
make improvements in the provision of information
increase access to the curriculum
An Access Audit will assess the building, the curriculum and all published information. It is a common misconception that an Accessibility Plan relates only to the physical building, this is not the case and, in fact, only makes up 1/3 of the Accessibility Plan.
Once an Access Audit is carried out, an Accessibility Plan can then be written. The school is only required to make changes which are deemed 'reasonable' by the Equality Act 2010 and this is where much confusion comes.
In order to increase access for individual pupils by making ‘reasonable adjustments’, a trained eye is very helpful. We can assist schools by using our experience to consider what would be 'reasonable' and what would not - most often, a SENCO or Site Manager struggle with this.
If your school needs an Accessibility Plan, we can assist and are happy to have an informal chat to see how we can help you. We have all worked in school settings and have a passion for equality in education. Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org