↵The Equalities Act 2010 requires schools to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with additional needs so they are not at a substantial disadvantage, and covers the provision by a school of auxiliary aids and services. The object of the duty is to avoid as far as possible by reasonable means, the disadvantage which a pupil experiences because of their additional needs.
In some cases the support a pupil may receive because of their special educational needs may mean that they do not suffer a substantial disadvantage and so there is no need for additional reasonable adjustments to be made for them. In other cases pupils may require reasonable adjustments in addition to the special educational provision they are receiving. There are also disabled pupils who do not have special educational needs but still require reasonable adjustments to be made for them.
If any of the following apply it is likely that a reasonable adjustment is required to prevent a substantial disadvantage:
- a child or young person with additional needs would need to expend extra time and effort to participate when compared with a peer without additional needs
- a child or young person with additional needs would suffer inconvenience, indignity or discomfort if you did not make an adjustment
- a child or young person with additional needs would lose an opportunity or make diminished progress when compared to peers without additional needs
In law reasonable adjustments are different from expensive projects like installing a lift or building an accessible toilet. Schools still have a duty to do this kind of improvement work in a planned way with support from the local authority but these actions are not reasonable adjustments. Cost is a factor when considering whether or not a suggested adjustment is reasonable or not in law.
You should not expect pupils or their families to suggest adjustments but if they do you should consider whether those adjustments would help to overcome the disadvantage and whether the suggestions are reasonable. It is good practice for schools to work with pupils and their parents in determining what reasonable adjustments can be made.
Examples of reasonable adjustments
Reasonable adjustments are often particularly important when planning school trips.
Access arrangements for national tests and exams are another important reasonable adjustment for pupils who meet the requirements of the JCQ or AQA.