Accessibility Strategy including Accessibility Plan
1. Introduction and Background
In working for excellence for all children the School is committed to working in partnership with the Local Education Authority, in order to prevent discriminating practices which might disadvantage vulnerable groups by creating or exacerbating inequalities and barriers to learning.
Children with SEND are a potentially vulnerable group who can be disadvantaged if policies, procedures and practices within the School do not take account of, and seek to remove, barriers which could deny them the educational opportunities available to other children.
The School believes that it is unacceptable to treat a person with a disability less favourably, for any available reason relating to the disability.
This policy takes into account the legislation governing the School’s responsibilities as set out in the Equality Policy, SEND policy and is written in compliance with paragraph 3 of schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
2. Castlewood School’s Accessibility Strategy
The Law requires Local Education Authorities to produce an Accessibility Strategy, setting out how it will support its schools to improve their accessibility for pupils with SEND in the three main areas (strands).
Equally all schools are required to prepare their own accessibility plans to cover the same three year timescale.
Castlewood School’s planning for these activities will become part of its developmental planning process. The elements are an integral part of existing plans for equal opportunities; premises development; behaviour management; anti-bullying strategies; special educational needs and so on.
As part of the developmental planning process the School has already made reasonable adjustment in that it has:
- a trained SEND co-ordinator
- a SEND Governor
- has SEND trained Teaching Assistants
- access to Local Education Authority’s support
- easily shared information from prospective parents of children with disabilities
- An Accessibility Action Plan
3. Improving accessibility for children who have SEND
Strand 1: Access to the curriculum
The School will seek to:
- Ensure that its policies reflect the requirements of the Children and Families Act 2014 and SEND reforms September 2014
- Promote the development and extension of effective inclusive education practice in school in the context of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, reducing barriers to educational access and raising pupil performance.
- Improve the ability of the school to respond positively to children and young people with a range of SEND.
Strand 2: Access to the physical environment
The School will seek to:
- Identify and plan for specific physical adjustments which are required to meet the needs of pupils with SEND, including works identified in the School Improvement Plan or that identified with parents when a placement is agreed for a child with SEND and which would require building modifications in order to become sufficiently accessible.
Strand 3: Access to written information
The School will seek to:
- Provide information and support to Staff, through the services of the Local Education Authority, on ICT and other resources for converting written information to alternative formats for children who have SEND.
4. Updating the plan
The school will also seek and follow the advice of the services such as other schools, the LEA, the Government and independent bodies to achieve best practice. The Governing Body will review this Strategy on an annual basis in conjunction with the Equality Policy.
Accessibility Action Plan
Appendix 1. Action plan for Strand 1: Access to the curriculum
Castlewood School ensures that all teachers and teaching assistants are trained to teach and support pupils with SEND. Classroom layout takes into account any specific problems and lessons are organised to promote equal opportunities for all to learn and achieve.
Teachers are aware of possible mental effort and additional time required by some pupils to complete tasks or use equipment in practical work.
Our ICT suite and classroom computers allow appropriate access for pupils with SEND and can be adjusted to suit a variety of problems.
Lessons involve work to be done individually, in pairs, groups and by the whole class. All staff aim to provide alternative ways of giving access to experience or understanding for SEND pupils who require additional help.
School visits are made accessible to all pupils.
Availability of computer technology appropriate for pupils with SEND.
Research availability & cost of additional hardware.
To have in place an understanding of potential need.
Improved access to computer technology for SEND pupils.
Appendix 2. Action plan for Strand 2: Access to the physical environment
Most areas of the main school building allow access to all pupils. Castlewood has mobile classrooms which are inaccessible to wheelchair users, but classes could easily be arranged to avoid these classrooms for children with physical disabilities. There is a modified toilet in the main building.
The main building has no steps and there is adequate room in all corridors for wheelchair access. There are no automatic doors but in the event of a pupil who uses a wheelchair joining Castlewood the school would operate a buddy system when moving around the school. Consideration would be given to further modifications eg automatic door opening.
Pathways of travel around the school site are safe and logical and a disabled parking space for a disabled pupil or parent could easily be made available.
There is a system in place for emergency evacuation with all SEND pupils being assigned an individual member of staff to ensure their safety. In the event of staff absence there is a back up system in place.
There are no non-visual guides in place at the moment, but adjustments could be made and we would seek guidance where necessary. All areas are well lit and all steps taken to reduce background noise for hearing impaired pupils.
Appendix 3. Action plan for Strand 3: Access to written information
The school endeavours to provide information in a suitable format for pupils and parents who may experience difficulty with standard forms of printed information. We can provide visual timetables and information in large print and translation where necessary.
The ICT facilities allow the school to produce written information in a variety of formats, and staff are familiar with current technology and practices regarding pupils with SEND.