University of Edinburgh

PSpecial Education & Disability Act and SI Education

Presented on Tuesday, 12 March 2002

Deaf Education: Schools

Group tasks

Task One
Less favourable treatment
Develop worst case scenarios relating to three of the areas of activity listed below. These scenarios should illustrate that the responsible body is discriminating against a deaf pupil by treating the pupil less favourably than other pupils.

We need to answer the following questions:

  • is the less favourable treatment for a reason that is related to the child's disability?;
  • is it less favourable treatment than someone gets if the reason does not apply to him/her?; and
  • is it less favourable treatment than can be justified?

Task Two
Failing to make 'reasonable adjustments'

Develop worst case scenarios relating to three of the areas of activity listed below. These scenarios should illustrate that the responsible body is discriminating against a deaf pupil by failing to make reasonable adjustments.

Keep in mind the following points from the Code:

In considering what might constitute a substantial disadvantage, the school will need to take account of a number of factors. These may include:

  • the time and effort that might need to be expended by a disabled child;
  • the inconvenience, indignity or discomfort a disabled child might suffer;
  • the loss of opportunity or the diminished progress that a disabled child may make in comparison with his or her peers who are not disabled.

The duty on schools to make reasonable adjustments is anticipatory.

The reasonable adjustments duty is owed to disabled children in general, not simply to individual disabled children. This means that schools will need to review their policies, practices and procedures, as a matter of course, to ensure that they do not discriminte against disabled children. It means that schools should not wait until a disabled child seeks admission to the school or is admitted as a pupil to consider what reasonable adjustments it might make generally to meet the needs of disabled pupils.

Education and associated services: areas of activity

  • preparation for entry to the school;
  • the curriculum;
  • teaching and learning;
  • classroom organisation;
  • timetabling;
  • grouping of pupils;
  • homework;
  • access to school facilities;
  • activities to supplement the curriculum, for example a drama group visiting the school;
  • school sports;
  • school policies;
  • breaks and lunchtimes;
  • the serving of school meals;
  • interaction with peers;'
  • assessment and exam arrangements;
  • school discipline and sanctions;
  • exclusion procedures;
  • school clubs and activities;
  • school trips;
  • the school's arrangements for working with other agencies;
  • preparation of pupils for the next phase of education.

Illustrative Scenarios
The following examples from the code might be helpful in developing your scenarios
Example One (5.8)

Example 5.8A
A school has received a number of complaints from local shopkeepers about the rowdy and disruptive behaviour of some of its pupils. It decides that the pupils in question should be banned from taking part in a school theatre visit because of their behaviour. One of the pupils has a hearing impairment.

The rowdy and disruptive behaviour is not directly related to the pupil's impairment. The ban from the visit may be less favourable treatment but it is not for a reason related to the pupil's disability.

Example Two (6.11)

Example 6.11A
A secondary school with a number of disabled pupils fails to negotiate the special arrangements for disabled pupils who are taking public exams. This is likely to place disabled pupils at a substantial disadvantage and may be unlawful.

Example Three (6.20)

Example 6.20A
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 personal FM system (radio aid) in all lessons. These auxiliary aids and services are provided through the SEN framework. The use of the aids is covered by the disability discrimination duties. If, for example, a teacher were to refuse to use the radio microphone, it is likely that this would be unlawful under the disability discrimination duties.

Task 3
If you have time, consider how could the situations you describe be remedied and who would take responsibility?

Also consider one example of a doubtful scenario - eg: where you are unsure if discrimination is taking place. Why are you uncertain?

Special Education & Disability Act