What a Whole School Policy on Disability Equality and Inclusion Should Cover

Covers the components of school policy as it applies to children with disabilities in the UK.

Access Audit of the School Environment. Carry out a full access audit of your building. Involve pupils. Cost and set targets of major and minor works to be included in the School Development Plan.

Audit Access to the Learning Environment. Audit software and hardware suitable for supporting learning difficulty; maintain up-to-date information on adaptations e.g. Brailling, vocalising, touch screen, laptops, switching.

Ensure Disability Issues are in the Curriculum. When planning curriculum unit, topic or module, think of including a disability dimension. Build up resources and literature that are nondiscriminatory. Promote the 'social model'.

Disabled people are positively portrayed - images. Ensure all children have access to positive images of disabled adults and children.

Diversify the curriculum - use a variety of approaches. Use a wide variety of approaches when planning the curriculum to draw on different strengths and aptitudes of the pupils. Build up a resource bank of ideas and lessons allowing time for joint planning and review. Make sure all staff use the QCA General Inclusion Guidelines in planning and delivery of teaching and learning.

Develop collaborative learning and peer tutoring. The biggest learning resource in any school are the pupils. Involve them in pairing with children of different abilities and groups. All benefit.

Effective team approach for learning support and curriculum planning. Ensure that learning support is effectively co-ordinated throughout the school by allowing time for joint planning in school day involving teams of teachers & welfare assistants.

British Sign Language taught and used. When a school includes deaf children, make use of British Sign Language translators and teachers. Offer deaf children the chance to work with native signers. Offer hearing children the chance to study sign language as part of the curriculum.

Accessible communication in school/to parents. Recognise that not everyone communicates by written or spoken English. Audit the communication needs within the school and of parents and provide notices, reports, information & directions in the relevant format, e.g. large print, Braille, tape, videos in BSL, computer disk & pictograms.

Be critical of disablist language used. Examine language used to describe pupils, in teaching and by pupils. Much of it is disablist and impairment derived. Develop a critical reappraisal through Disability Equality Training, assemblies and in class.

Challenge impairment derived abuse, name calling and bullying as part of school behavior policy. Introduce effective policy to prevent abuse, name calling and bullying because of physical, mental or sensory differences. Involve all pupils in developing behaviour policy.

Intentionally build relationships. Policies devised by pupil involvement & based on principles of self-regulation & mutual respect are the most effective. Sometimes it is necessary for adults to take a lead in setting up circles of friends & buddy systems. All children should remain on role even if for some time they are out of class. Devise systems where distressed children can take 'time-out'.

Develop a whole-school ethos on accepting difference.

Develop empowerment and self-representation of disabled pupils. Set up structures through which disabled puplis/those with SEN cab express their views, develop self-esteem, & have some influence on school policies. Involve disabled adults in this process.

Physical Education. Ensure PE and sporting activities involve all pupils, develop collaboration & encourage all pupils to improve their personal performance. Use adaptation and creative imagination to succeed in this.

Transport and having a school trips policy that includes all. Ensure transport to and from the school for disabled pupils fit in with the school day and allow for attendance at after school activities. Allow friends and siblings to use to break down isolation. Ensure no pupil is excluded from a trip or visit because their access or other needs are not met. This means careful advanced planning and pre-visits.

Have an increasing inclusion ethos in school development plan. The school should examine every aspect of its activity for barriers to inclusion and then set a series of targets for their eradication describing how this is to be achieved. Remember the SEN and Disability Act is anticipatory.

Include Outside Specialist Support. Plan the work of speech, physiotherapy and occupational therapists in a co-ordinated way which best supports pupils' curriculum needs and reduces disruption to their learning and social needs.

Have policy on Administering Medication and Personal Assistance. Devise a policy on administering routine medication that is easy for pupils to use and develop systems that maintain their dignity on personal hygiene issues. Have a system for handling medical emergencies that is easy for everyone to use. Volunteers should be trained by medical practitioners, then they are indemnified.

Maintain Equipment. Ensure that specialist equipment is properly maintained, stored and replaced when necessary; mobility aids, e.g. wheelchairs and walking frames, are regularly checked; and that staff are trained in their proper use.

Increase the employment of disabled staff. The Disability Discrimination Act Part II since 1995 has applied to employment in most schools. From 2003 it will apply to all schools when the small employer exemption is lifted. Revise your equal opportunity employment policy to increase the employment of disabled teaching and non-teaching staff. There is Access to Work money available. All children need disabled adult role models.

Disability Equality Training and ongoing INSET for Staff and Governors. Organise a programme of in-service training for teachers, support staff and governors to help them move towards inclusion and disability equality. Ensure all staff are involved in and understand the process of inclusion.

Governing Body representation. Appoint a governor to have a brief for inclusion, with the whole governing body involved in developing inclusion policy. Try to get disabled governors. Make your meetings accessible.

Consultation with and involvement of parents. Ensure there are effective arrangements for involving parents in all parts of their child's school life and decisions that have to be made. These arrangements should involve counseling and support in helping a child towards independence. With their permission, maintain information about parents who are themselves disabled so their access and their needs can be met.

The above information has been written by Disability Equality in Education.


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 13). What a Whole School Policy on Disability Equality and Inclusion Should Cover, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 14 from

Last Updated: April 12, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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