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Reasonable Adjustments

Under the Equality Act 2010 schools are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that all children can access their facilities and services.   The school has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’, where typical provision might put a disabled pupil at a ‘substantial disadvantage’

Reasonable adjustments aren’t just for children with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. Children and young people with SEND who are getting SEN support should have reasonable adjustments made for them too. 

From 1 September 2012 the reasonable adjustments duty for schools and education authorities includes a duty to provide auxiliary aids and services for disabled pupils.

Schools must provide detailed information about their arrangements for the admission of disabled pupils to the school and publish an accessibility plan explaining adjustments they can make and ongoing plans to improve access.

They must also publish a SEN information report explaining how they identify and support children with SEND. This can be found on the school’s website.

Nurseries, Schools and Colleges should be thinking in advance, and reviewing what adjustments they may need to make to avoid substantial disadvantage for disabled children.

  • All aspects should be covered, including homework, school trips, provision of education and around exclusions.
  • They must make reasonable adjustments to procedures, criteria and practices and by the provision of auxiliary aids and services.
  • Nurseries and post-16 providers must also make reasonable adjustments by making physical alterations.
  • Schools and the local authority are not required to make physical alterations, but they must publish accessibility plans (and local authorities, accessibility strategies) setting out how they plan to increase access for disabled pupils to the curriculum, the physical environment and to information.

These adjustments may already be provided for in a child’s Education, Health & Care plan (EHCP) but, in the case that they are not, or the pupil does not have an EHCP, the school or Local Authority still has a duty to provide them.

The term ‘reasonable’ is also not explicitly defined in the Act, which leaves it up to the discretion of the school or LA to determine this. Some (but not all) of the factors that may influence a decision are:

  • Financial resources of the school
  • Cost of the aid or service
  • Effectiveness of the aid
  • Effect on other pupils
  • Health and safety requirements
  • Provisions already made by the SEN Framework

Reasonable adjustments come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, depending on a child’s needs.  Examples of reasonable adjustments include;

  • Arranging for a student who uses a wheelchair to have classes on the ground floor of the building
  • A child wearing ear defenders or a slightly different piece of uniform to accommodate sensory sensitivities
  • Starting and finishing lessons at slightly different times so that your child can avoid busy and crowded corridors
  • Have support, or make alternative arrangements, for assemblies, school plays and sports days if you feel this would be in your child’s best interests
  • Having access to a ‘quiet’ area or separate work station
  • Arranging support so your child can take part in school trips
  • A child having movement breaks if they find sitting still difficult

For reasonable adjustments to work well, they should be child-led. That means, whenever possible, your child or young person should be involved in helping to decide what support and changes are needed