No school would wish to be found guilty of disability discrimination. It impacts on pupils and does lasting reputational damage to the school, both as an institution and as an integral part of the local community. But schools do discriminate against disabled pupils, through indirect discrimination.
How does this happen? The key is that the discrimination is not intentional, but it happens all the same. More often than not, it results in exclusion for the disabled pupil concerned.
Paul Green of Versatile Lift Company explains, “Imagine if a pupil in a wheelchair cannot access certain classes or rooms in a school because the school has not made sufficient provision to transport the wheelchair. That disabled pupil can be considered as being discriminated against. The pupil is being excluded from certain school activities and this is likely to cause distress for the individual and the individual’s family”.
There is also the knock-on effect of this form of discrimination heightening the disabled pupil’s status of ‘otherness’ within the school.
“The whole sense of the school, as an inclusive community, is disrupted and undermined by the practical limitations of disability access. Proper access for disabled pupils is the foundation for increased and sustained disability awareness in schools”
Paul Green, Versatile Lift Company
“Tackling disability discrimination requires, firstly, a proactive approach to enabling disabled accessibility“, explains Paul. “Lifts, in particular, are a clear indicator of a school’s willingness to embrace and resolve this issue. Secondly, there has to be a culture shift within the school, whereby pupils and staff are actively promoting disability equality”.
“Inclusiveness in mainstream schools brings challenges and potential pitfalls”, concludes Paul. “This is against a background of tight budgets in education spending. There are, however, cost effective ways of making schools Equality Act compliant, and modern lift technology is a key part of this. Lifts are no longer simply metal shafts. Instead, they offer flexible solutions for a variety of locations”.
Whether considerations are made for stair lifts, platform lifts or step and incline lifts, each school will have its own issues to address. And problems.
If you would like to discuss your Equality Act compliance, please call Versatile Lift Company on 0800 028 1972 or visit their website for more information.
Alternatively, Versatile Lift Company have produced a report which provides you with practical guidance on how the education sector can adapt to the challenges and inclusiveness of the Equality Act. To get your copy, please click here