Accessibility Policy & Plan

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ACCESSIBILITY POLICY for all pupils, staff, parents and governors

 

Introduction

This policy has been developed by the Staff and Governors at Hawkhurst Primary School. It is written in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001. This policy addresses the disability discrimination duties and the planning duties of the DDA

Definition of Disability

Disability is defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA): “A person has 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.”
This definition covers physical disabilities, sensory impairments (e.g. sight/hearing) and learning disabilities.

Key Objective

To reduce and eliminate barriers to access to the curriculum and to full participation in the school community for pupils, staff, governors and parents with a disability.

Principles

Compliance with the DDA is consistent with the school’s aims and equal opportunities policy, and the operation of the school’s SEN policy; The school recognises its duty under the DDA (as amended by the SENDA):

  • not to discriminate against disabled pupils and parents in their admissions and exclusions, and provision of education and associated services.
  • not to treat disabled pupils, staff, parents and governors less favourably.
  • to take reasonable steps to avoid putting disabled pupils, staff, parents and governors at a substantial disadvantage
  • to publish an Accessibility Plan.

In performing their duties, governors and staff will have regard to the DRC Code of Practice (2002);

  • The school recognises and values parents’ knowledge of their child’s disability and its effect on his/her ability to carry out normal activities, and respects the parents’ and child’s right to confidentiality;
  • The school provides all pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum, differentiated and adjusted to meet the needs of individual pupils and their preferred learning styles; and endorses the key principles in the National Curriculum 2000 framework, which underpin the development of a more inclusive curriculum: setting suitable learning challenges, responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs, overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

Responsibilities

The DDA has introduced new duties on responsible bodies of Schools from September 2002 to protect current and prospective disabled pupils from discrimination in every aspect of School life: admissions, education and associated services, and exclusions. At Hawkhurst Primary School the responsible body is the Governing Body in conjunction with the Local Education Authority.

Responsible bodies have two key duties:

  • not to treat disabled pupils less favourably.
  • to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled pupils and disabled prospective pupils are not put at a substantial disadvantage.

The Less Favourable Treatment Duty

This duty requires the responsible body to address 3 questions when determining whether unlawful discrimination has taken place:

  • Is the treatment related to the child’s disability ?
  • Is the treatment less favourable when compared with a child to whom that disability does not apply ?
  • Can the less favourable treatment be justified ?

Less favourable treatment may be justified if it is the result of a permitted form of selection in relation to admissions, or if it is for a reason that is material and substantial i.e. there has to be a clear connection between the reason given and the circumstances of that particular case. Less favourable treatment may not be justified if a reasonable adjustment could have been made but wasn’t.

The Reasonable Adjustment Duty

This is an anticipatory duty and requires the responsible body to consider:

  • What might constitute as a substantial disadvantage?
  • Does the duty apply to all disabled pupils?
  • Is there a breach of duty to an individual?

There is also a requirement to keep policies, practices and procedures under continuous review, and a formal review is undertaken by the Governors annually. The Governors may take into account:

  • Standards
  • Resources
  • Costs
  • Practicality
  • SEN provision
  • Health and Safety
  • The interests of other pupils

There are two exemptions from the reasonable adjustments duty which are the provision of auxiliary aids and services, as this is met through the SEN framework and the physical adaptations to buildings, which are developed in a strategic way over time and covered by the planning duty.

The Planning Duties:

The planning duty requires Schools to produce written accessibility strategies and plans. Schools are required to plan for:
Increasing access for disabled pupils to the school curriculum.

  • This covers teaching and learning and the wider curriculum of the school such as participation in after-school clubs, leisure and cultural activities or school visits. Improving access to the physical environment of the school.
  • This covers improvements to the physical environment of the school and physical aids to access education. Improving the delivery of written information to disabled pupils.
  • This includes planning to make written information available to disabled pupils e.g. handouts, timetables, textbooks and information about School events.

Accessibility audit

Following an accessibility audit undertaken by the Headteacher and supported by the AEN Governor and the buildings advisory service (KCC approved), we have developed an Accessibility Plan with short term, medium term and long term targets covering a period of 5 years.
Targets address inclusion with regards to the building, teaching, organisation, and staffing, and the associated costs will be incorporated into current and future budget commitments, using both delegated and devolved funds.

Access to the Curriculum

Although we endeavour to consider the needs of a range of disabled children it is likely that children with learning disabilities will have the greatest barriers to access and the majority of such will have access provided through the statement of SEN. In our delivery of the National Curriculum we ensure that suitable learning challenges are set, we respond to pupil’s diverse learning needs and we overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment.
External agencies are used to provide support i.e. individual pupil assessments and staff training. The school will continue to seek and follow the advice of LEA services, such as specialist teacher advisers and SEN inspectors/advisers, and of appropriate health professionals from the local NHS Trusts.
Training is identified as part of ongoing school self evaluation and performance management procedures. Training for all teaching staff and teaching assistants is linked to the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and Performance Management objectives.
The Head teacher and the SENCO undertake regular monitoring using a variety of strategies i.e. classroom observations, talking to pupils and scrutiny of data, planning and pupil’s work.

Access to the physical environment

The school will take account of the needs of pupils and visitors with physical difficulties and sensory impairments when planning and undertaking future improvements and refurbishments of the site and premises, such as improved access, lighting, acoustic treatment and colour schemes, and more accessible facilities and fittings.
Currently all areas of school are accessible and the disabled toilet is located centrally.

Access to written information

Information will be made available within a reasonable time frame and take account of the pupils’ disabilities and pupils and parents preferred formats. The school will make itself aware of local services, including those provided through the LEA, for providing information in alternative formats when required or requested.

FLO

The school employs a Family Liaison Officer who is able to offer other avenues of access to pupils and parents including practical help with completing forms, liaising with external agencies and responding to the changing needs of family life.

Linked Policies

This Plan will contribute to the review and revision of related school policies,
e.g.

  • School Improvement plan
  • SEND policy
  • Equal Opportunities policy
  • Curriculum policies.

Review and Monitoring

This policy and the Accessibility Plan will be monitored and reviewed formally on an annual basis and as and when the need arises. Copies of the plan are available on request:

  • paper copy from the school office
  • email
  • enlarged print version

This policy was approved by the Finance Committee on January 27th 2017


Accessibility Plan

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.

We 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 to challenging negative attitudes about disability and accessibility and to developing a culture of awareness, tolerance and inclusion.

Our Accessibility Plan contains relevant actions to:

  • Improve access to the physical environment of the school, adding specialist facilities as necessary. This covers reasonable adjustments to the physical environment of the school and physical aids to access education.
  • Increase access to the curriculum for pupils with a disability, expanding and making reasonable adjustments to the curriculum as necessary to ensure that pupils with a disability are as, equally, prepared for life as are the able-bodied pupils. This covers teaching and learning and the wider curriculum of the school such as participation in after-school clubs, leisure and cultural activities or school visits. It also covers the provision of specialist aids and equipment, which may assist these pupils in accessing the curriculum.
  • Improve and make reasonable adjustments to the delivery of written information to pupils, staff, parents and visitors with disabilities.
  • The Action Plan for physical accessibility relates to the Access Audit of the School, which is undertaken regularly.
  • Information about our Accessibility Plan will be published on the Hawkhurst C.E. primary School website.
  • The Plan will be monitored by the full Governing Body. •

The table below sets out how the school will achieve these aims.

Aim Current good practice Objectives Actions to be taken Person responsible Date Success

Criteria

Improve and maintain access to the physical environment

 

Light switches are at wheelchair level. To improve the contrast between the light switches and the background wall Paint a contrasting colour around the light switches Site Manager End July 2017 Contrasting area is painted
Improve and maintain access to the physical environment

 

Wheelchair access around the entire site To enable wheelchair access for the new Quiet Area Quiet area to be designed with wheelchair access in mind Headteacher Sept 2017 Useable area is constructed
Improve and maintain access to the physical environment

 

Manhole covers are clear of weeds and some are covered by wooden covers
External steps & manhole covers highlighted in yellow / non-slip paint

 

Yellow paint to be bought and highlighting carried out Site Manager July 2017 Highlighting is completed
Improve the delivery of written information to pupils TV screen in entrance has information running on it To improve the relevance of information displayed on the screen To plan and coordinate the gathering of information IT technician Jan 2017 Pupils enjoy watching the screen and reading the information
Increase access to the curriculum for pupils with a disability High needs funding has provided additional teaching assistants To claim HNF for additional pupils Appoint suitable personnel for support of pupils with HNF Senco Ongoing Access to the curriculum is improved