Equality and Accessibility
This Accessibility Policy and Plan are drawn up in compliance with current legislation and requirements as specified in Schedule 10, relating to Disability, of the Equality Act 2010.
School Governors are accountable for ensuring the implementation, review and reporting on progress of the Accessibility Plan over a prescribed period.
Branton Primary School and Breamish Valley Nursery are committed to providing an accessible environment which values and includes all pupils, staff, parents and visitors regardless of their education, physical, sensory, social, spiritual, emotional and cultural needs. We are committed developing a culture of awareness, tolerance and inclusion.
We plan, over time, to ensure the accessibility of provision for all pupils, staff and visitors to the school. An Accessibility Plan will be drawn up to cover a three year period. Under the Equality Act 2010, the school complies with the general equality duty and the new specific duties. The equality duty now includes all those with protected characteristics, which makes it unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil by treating them less favourably because of their:
- religion or belief,
- sexual orientation,
- gender reassignment,
- pregnancy or maternity.
General Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) has three main elements.
1. Eliminate discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act,
2. Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it,
3. Foster good relations across all characteristics - between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
The duty to have “due regard” to equality considerations means that whenever significant decisions are being made or policies developed, thought must be given to the equality implications.
Schools have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with a disability. The DfE non-statutory guidance states that this duty can be summarised as follows:
- Where something a disabled pupil is placed at a disadvantage compared to other pupils then the school must take reasonable adjustments to try and reduce/remove the disadvantage.
- Schools will be expected to provide an auxiliary aid or service for a disabled pupil when it would be reasonable to do so and if such an aid would alleviate any substantial disadvantage that the pupil faces in comparison to non-disabled pupils.
- Schools are not subject to the other reasonable adjustment duty to make alterations to physical features because this is already considered as part of their planning duties.
Factors a school may consider when assessing the reasonableness of an adjustment, may include the financial or other resources required for the adjustment, its effectiveness, its effect on other pupils, health and safety requirements and whether aids have been made available through the Special Educational Needs route. Cost will play a major part in determining what is reasonable. For example, a small rural primary school may not be able to provide specialised IT equipment for any disabled pupils who may need it and it may not be reasonable for the school to provide that equipment. On the other hand, a much larger school might reasonably be expected to provide it.
The guidance states that many pupils with a disability will have an SEN statement and auxiliary aids provided by the LA and so may not require anything further. However, if the disabled pupil does not have a statement or EHC Plan (or the statement/plan doesn’t provide the necessary aid) then the duty to consider reasonable adjustments and provide such auxiliary aids will fall to the school (after the relevant provisions come into force).
The reasonable adjustments duties on schools are intended to complement the accessibility planning duties and the existing SEN statement provisions which are part of education legislation, under which Local Authorities have a duty to provide auxiliary aids to pupils with a statement of special educational need/ Education and Healthcare Plan (EHC Plan).
In addition to the duty to consider reasonable adjustments for particular individual disabled pupils, schools will also have to consider potential adjustments which may be needed for disabled pupils generally. Accessibility planning Accessibility plans in Branton First School and Breamish Valley Nursery are aimed at:
- Increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum;
- Improving the physical environment of schools to enable disabled pupils to take better advantage of education, benefits, facilities and services provided; and
- Improving the availability of accessible information to disabled pupils.
The school will provide adequate resources for implementing plans and regularly reviews them. An accessibility plan may be a freestanding document but may also be published as part of another document such as the school development plan. Increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum. The curriculum covers teaching and learning and wider provision embracing clubs; leisure, sporting and cultural activities; and school trips.
Planning for improved access to the curriculum includes consideration of school and classroom organisation and support, timetabling, curriculum options, deployment of staff and staff information and training. Curriculum audits can support the school to review patterns of achievement and participation by disabled pupils in different areas of the curriculum, e.g. the inclusion of physically disabled children in PE, and then to identify action to increase participation.