University of Edinburgh

Improve Access to Education for Pupils with Disabilities

(SEED, October 2002): Focus on Visual Impairment and Hearing Impairment

Presented in January, 2003

Lilian Lawson, SCoD - presentation

DDA Case Studies 22nd January 2003 Less Favourable Treatment
A primary school is planning a trip to the theatre. The school does not offer the trip to deaf pupils on the basis that they would not understand the play.

Is this less favourable treatment for a reason related to the deaf pupiIs' disability?

Is it justified?

Less Favourable Treatment
A deaf pupil with autism goes to the front of the dinner queue. A teacher standing nearby tells him not to "barge in". The pupil becomes anxious but does not move. The teacher insists that the pupil must not "jump the queue". The pupil becomes more anxious and agitated and hits the teacher. The pupil is excluded temporarily from the school.

Is this less favourable treatment for a reason related to the pupil's disability?

Is it justified?

Reasonable Adjustments
A secondary school with a number of deaf pupils fails to negotiate the special arrangements for deaf pupils who are taking public exams.

Is this unlawful discrimination?

A secondary school takes pupils to an outdoor education centre each year. The school can benefit from a reduced rate if they book with the same centre for three years. The school checks with the centre before booking to ensure that if they were to take deaf pupils as part of a group they would be able to access the activities & facilities of the centre.

Is this a reasonable step of avoiding potential discrimination?

A large secondary school is opening a special unit for deaf pupils. They plan to include the pupils from the unit in mainstream lessons. One of the challenges is how to enable the deaf children from the unit to follow the timetable. They might otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage. The school has an established "buddy system" as part of its anti-bullying policy. What reasonable steps can the school make?
A small rural primary school has little experience of deaf pupils. The school is going to admit a five-year old deaf girl. What reasonable steps should the school take to avoid unlawful discrimination?

The interests of other pupils
An exchange trip is offered to pupils studying French in a secondary school. One of the pupils is partially deaf and requires lipspeaking services. Her school tries and cannot get lipspeakers to go with her to France. Should the school cancel the trip or go ahead without the partially deaf pupil?

Is this lawful discrimination?

Health & Safety
A physically disabled, deaf pupil is going to be admitted to a primary school next term. The school is concerned that the pupil's standing frame will present a health and safety risk to other pupils when stored in the classroom in between periods of use during the school day. The pupil's educational and physiotherapy programme requires regular movement and the use of the standing frame. Without this movement, the pupil would develop contractures.
What steps should the school take?

Provision of auxiliary aids or services

A deaf child attends her local primary school with the regular support of a teaching assistant and twice-weekly visits from a peripatetic teacher of the deaf. Although she is severely deaf, the child's spoken language and use of English is well-established. She wears a radio aid in all lessons. These auxiliary aids are provided through the SEN framework. One teacher refuses to use the radio microphone - is this permitted?

A Deaf sign language user enrols at an adult education centre. An enquirer told him to wait for a Sign Language interpreter rather than registering immediately. Later on, he asked the enquirer where the Sign Language interpreter was. The course was now full and he was too late to enrol. Is this a case of unlawful discrimination?

David is taking exams at his further education college. He needs a BSL interpreter as he has difficulties reading and writing English. The college says he cannot have an interpreter but he can have extra time? Is this correct? Are examinations covered by DDA?

Evening courses
Irene wants to take an evening course. She has applied to her local community college and to a private college. Both have refused to provide her with a lipspeaker. Is this unlawful?

Sixth Form College & Special Educational Needs
Tamara wants to go to her school sixth form. She became deaf recently as a result of meningitis. She does not have a statement of special educational needs and she does not have any communication support at the moment, although she would like some. Is Tamara covered by law?
Which law?

Parents' Evening
Catherine is the parent of a hearing child, but she is deaf. She asks the schools to provide a BSL interpreter at parents' evenings, but the school refuses. Is the school acting lawfully?

Work Placement
Barry is at a college of further education. As part of his course, he has to do a work placement. The college finds him a placement, but, when he starts, the people at work make fun of him and do not make any effort to communicate properly with him. He complains to his college . Does the college have the duty not to discriminate against Barry? What about the "work placement" organisation?