The Equality Act 2010 describes disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

Read the full definition of disability.

Help at school

Pupils with disabilities should have the same opportunities as other pupils.

Schools are not allowed to discriminate against them. 

Schools must provide help if pupils need it. They might have to make reasonable adjustments or provide auxiliary aids or services.

Read our leaflet for more information about what a school should do if a pupil has a disability.

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are actions that help disabled pupils take part in school life. They could include:

  • changing the school timetable
  • thinking about where a pupil will sit
  • providing extra time for certain activities

Auxiliary aids and services 

Auxiliary aids and services are things or people that provide help for pupils, for example:

  • a piece of specialist equipment
  • support from a member of staff 

Schools should provide these if a pupil is at a disadvantage because of their disability. 

Planning for disabled pupils

All schools must have a written accessibility plan. As a local authority, we must have an accessibility strategy.

The accessibility plan sets out how the school will improve things for disabled pupils by:

  • making the curriculum more accessible
  • improving the physical environment
  • making written information more accessible

Our accessibility strategy explains how we will help improve the schools we're responsible for. 

Schools must also make sure they consider the impact on pupils with a disability when making decisions. This is part of their public sector Equality Duty.

Support in other settings

Some early years settings are part of a school, so they must follow the rules set out for schools.

Other early years settings and further education colleges must follow most of these rules. They don't have to write an accessibility plan. Instead they should make alterations if they are needed. This might mean removing or changing something in the building, or finding a way to avoid it. 

Senior Advisor Physical and Medical Needs Service

Name: Kelly Lambert
Email: kelly.lambert@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 224063
Full contact details