Why should we write your Accessibility Plan?
Accessibility planning in schools is a critical aspect of education that should not be overlooked.
According to the Department for Education, all schools in the UK are required to have an Accessibility Plan – a legally binding document that outlines how the school will accommodate pupils with disabilities. Sadly, accessibility planning is often treated as an afterthought, and schools only pay attention to it after a problem arises. However, this is not a sustainable approach, and it can lead to legal challenges or exclusion of pupils with disabilities.
Accessibility planning is all about fulfilling the school's legal obligations under the Equality Act to make 'reasonable adjustments' for pupils with disabilities. However, what exactly is a ‘reasonable adjustment’?
This is a very fluid concept and varies from school to school. These may include providing ramp access, adapted toilet facilities, specialist equipment or support, and alternative communication methods. However, what is considered 'reasonable' can vary depending on the individual's needs and the constraints of the school environment. Therefore, accessibility planning should be tailored to the specific needs of the pupils and the school and should involve consultation with students, parents, staff, and external experts (such as Equality Act Audits!).
At Equality Act Audits, we understand the importance of accessibility planning in schools and are sensitive to school budgets, or lack of. We recognise that schools face budgetary constraints and other challenges, but we also know that failing to plan for accessibility needs can have serious consequences. That is why we offer comprehensive accessibility audits that provide schools with a clear picture of their level of accessibility and identify areas for improvement. By doing so, we help schools to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations while creating an inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all students.
In conclusion, accessibility planning is a crucial aspect of education that must not be overlooked. It is essential to ensure that all pupils, irrespective of their disability, can access education, facilities, and services in schools. Schools must remember that reasonable adjustments are not a one-size-fits-all approach and that accessibility planning requires consideration of individual needs and school constraints.
At Equality Act Audits Limited, we are committed to supporting schools by providing accessible audit solutions that enable them to meet their legal obligations and create an inclusive environment for all pupils.