The Blyth Academy strives to ensure that the culture and ethos of the school are such that, whatever the abilities and needs of members of the academy community, everyone is equally valued and treats one another with respect. Students should be provided with the opportunity to experience, understand and value diversity.
We aim to uphold UNICEF Convention on the Rights of Children Article 23 (A child with a disability has the right to live a full and decent life in conditions that promote dignity, independence and an active role in the community. Governments must do all they can to provide free care and assistance to children with a disability).
The definition of disability is:
A person suffers a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Physical or mental impairments can include sensory impairments (such as those affecting sight and hearing) and learning difficulties. The definition also covers certain medical conditions when they have a long-term and substantial effect on students everyday lives.
Our duty under the Disability Discrimination Act (95) as amended by the SENDA (2001) and the Children and Families Act 2104 (section 69). That all schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage. These duties are anticipatory - they require thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage. Schools also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations.
It is unlawful for schools, academies and LAs to discriminate against disabled pupils in their admissions and exclusions, education and associated services.
Schools, academies and LAs must:
- not treat disabled pupils less favourably; and
- take reasonable steps to avoid putting disabled pupils at a substantial disadvantage (the reasonable adjustment duty)
that Local Authority and school/academy governors have the duty to publish Accessibility Strategies and Plans
Preparation for entry to the school, the curriculum, teaching and learning, classroom organisation, timetabling, grouping of pupils, homework, access to school facilities, activities to supplement the curriculum, school sports, school policies, breaks and lunchtimes, the serving of school meals, interaction with peers, assessment and exam arrangements, school discipline and sanctions, school clubs and activities, school trips, the school arrangements for working with other agencies, preparation of pupils for the next phase of education.
Scope of the Plan
This plan covers all three main strands of the planning duty:
1. Improving the physical environment of school for the purpose of increasing the extent to which disabled pupils are able to take advantage of education and associated services.
This strand of the planning duty covers aids to improve the physical environment of the school and physical aids to access education. The physical environment includes things such as steps, stairways, kerbs, exterior surfaces and paving, parking areas, building entrances and exits (including emergency escape routes), internal and external doors, gates, toilets and washing facilities, lighting, ventilation, lifts, floor coverings, signs and furniture. Aids to physical access include handrails, lifts, widened doorways, adapted toilets and washing facilities and blinds.
In maintained schools the provision of a special piece of equipment or extra assistance will be made through the SEND framework and to a lesser extent through the planning duty which applies to all schools. The distinction between auxiliary aids and services provided through the SEND route and those provided under the planning duty is that the SEND duties relate to the individual, whereas the planning duty relates to the provision of aids or services in terms of the population (and future population) of the school. For example, a pupil with visual impairment might have low vision aids provided through the statement of SEND/ EHCP but the school might as a general measure provide blinds and adjustable lighting through the planning duty.
2. Increase the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in school's curriculum.
This strand of the planning duty will help to improve access to a full, broad and balanced curriculum. It covers a range of elements including ensuring that teaching and learning is accessible through school and classroom organisation and support, especially deployment of staff, timetabling, curriculum options and staff information and training.
Schools will be expected to plan to improve progressively access to the curriculum for all disabled pupils although many adjustments to access will be dependent on individual needs any may be provided through the SEND framework. The accessibility strategies and plans will help to ensure that schools are planning and preparing to respond to the particular needs of individual pupils.
3. Improving the delivery of information to pupils with disabilities
This part of the duty covers planning to make information normally provided by the school in writing to its pupils such as handouts, timetables, textbooks, information about school events available to disabled pupils. This will include alternative formats such as Braille and large print and also the provision of information orally, through lip speaking or sign language, through a recognised symbol system or ICT. This information should also be made available within a reasonable time frame and take account of the pupil disabilities and pupils and parents preferred formats.
Other related school policies
Equality for disabled pupils is included as an explicit aim in all of the Academy's policies and is supported by the Academy's other policies including:
- Teaching and Learning
- Behaviour Policy
- Admissions policy
- Educational visits
- Equality Statement and Single Equality Policy/Action Plan
The Blyth Academy aims to include all pupils, including those with disabilities, in the full life of the school. Our strategies to do this will include:
- having high expectations of all pupils
- finding ways in which all pupils can take part in the full curriculum.
- planning out-of-school activities including all school trips and excursions so that pupils with disabilities can participate
- setting admissions policy and criteria which does not discriminate against pupils with disabilities or treat them unfairly
- devising teaching strategies which will remove barriers to learning and participation for pupils with disabilities
- planning the physical environment of the school to cater for the needs of pupils with disabilities
- raising awareness of disability amongst school staff (teaching and non-teaching) through a programme of training
- by providing written information for pupils with disabilities in a form which is user friendly
- by using language which does not offend in all its literature and make staff and pupils aware of the importance of language
- by examining our library and reading books to ensure that there are examples of positive images of disabled people
The Blyth Academy recognises that monitoring is essential to ensure that pupils with disabilities are not being disadvantaged, and that monitoring leads to action planning.
We will monitor:
- Effects of pastoral strategies
- Response to teaching styles/subject
- SEN Register
- Effects of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies
- Extra-curricular activities
- Selection and recruitment of staff
- Governing body representation
- Parents attending consultation meetings
- Parents involvement in the life of the school (representation on PTA, attendance at parents evenings, in the classroom, school productions, sports day, fetes, etc.)
Publications for Guidance
- Accessible Schools: Planning to increase access to schools for disabled pupils - Issued to all schools in June 2002 (DfES Publications)
- Schools Disability Code of Practice - Disability Rights Commission (DRC)
- SEND Code of Practice (2015) - DfES
- DfES Guidance on Inclusive Schooling - DfES
- National Curriculum 2000 Inclusion Statement - DfES
- DfEE: Access for disabled people to school - The Stationary Office buildings (BB91)
Useful telephone numbers:
Disability Rights Commission: 0207 828 7022
DRC Helpline: 0845 622 633
DfES Publications: 0845 60 222 60
Ofsted Publications: 020 7510 0180
QCA: 021 8867 3333
Download the Accessibility plan for disabled students Here.