Planning to Improve Access to Education for pupils with
Council Policies and Implementation
Presented in January, 2004
The First Round of Accessibility Strategies
- Majority of LAs referred to definition of disability in DDA.
- Some listed groups of children to be included - but children with non-visible disabilities often not included.
- Strategies referred to overlapping categories of children with SEN/ASN.
- Links made between accessibility & support for learning/inclusion strategy
- Some strategies included children with social, emotional & behavioural difficulties & their behaviour strategy
Preparing & Implementing the Strategy
- Variation in extent to which LAs followed advice in Guidance on Preparing Accessibility Strategies
- Variation in nature of consultation with parents, vol orgs & children - some LAs committed to further consultation
- Tendency to focus audit on physical environment
- In future, need for closer scrutiny of curriculum and communication/information strategies.
Structure of strategies
- Accessibility strategy subsumed within document with information about broad rage of issues concerning SEN/ASN
- Short strategy prepared - future strategy to be part of Children’s Services Plan
- Produced document which clearly outlines LA’s approach to accessibility, but with links to other documents.
- Tension - integrated approach important, but clear, identifiable statement on accessibility also needed.
- Some (but not all) strategies had prioritised action plan.
The three planning duties: Access to the curriculum
- About planning at strategic level, not for individual pupils
- Some authorities reviewing curricular guidance
- Many committed to training for those responsible for QA & curriculum
- Little evidence that authorities considering access to particular subject areas.
- LAs recognised need for systems to assess needs & make physical adaptations, meet individual computing needs etc.
- Some had contracts in place (e.g. with CALL Centre
- Many, but not all, recognised need for improved access to extra-curricular activities.
The three planning duties:Access to the physical environment
- All LAs recognised need to audit school estate & prioritise improvements
- Need to address individual needs as well as make long-term improvements
- Major upgrades planned through PPPs.
- LAs without PPPs also committed to audit, but less likely to
have firm plans on place.
- Different goals -
- make all schools accessible to all pupils
- make particular schools accessible to all pupils
- target specific schools for certain groups (eg; pupils with autistic spectrum disorder)
The three planning duties:Improving communication & delivery of information
- Many LAs did not have specific plans in this area.
- Most Las recognised need to make school info. (eg; handbooks, newsletters,
course descriptors) available in alternative formats. Also applies to
RoNs, assessments etc.
- Small number recognised need to give pupils classwork & homework
in alternative formats
- One authority recognised disabled children & families need disability-specific
& general information
- LA drew distinction between:
- individual communication
- general communication
- communication with disabled children & families
- Few LAs referred to making information available in other languages
- links not always made with communication & equal opportunities
- Most LAs expressed desire to improve communication with children
& young people incl. Disabled children e.g. by discussing IEP targets.
- Only some LAs had clear plans for disseminating accessibility strategy in alternative formats
Evaluating & monitoring the strategy & audience
- Most LAs stated how they would monitor the strategy but some did not.
- Monitoring to be done by internal working group or within overall QA system
- Few LAs mentioned external independent monitoring group or consultant to challenge plans & judgements of success.
- Many authorities unclear about target audience - documents lengthy with many cross references & technical language
- Only minority gave web reference & gave details about how readers might contribute views or make complaints.
- Only some LAs explained how to obtain strategy.