The Equality Act (EA) requires institutions such as schools and nurseries to make 'reasonable adjustments'. This means putting things in place that make it easier for children with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN) to join in with all the activities of the school/nursery.
Children with disabilities/SEN are entitled to have reasonable adjustments made with regards to admission arrangements or in the provision of education – and services such as school trips – to prevent them being placed at a substantial disadvantage.
Reasonable adjustments must:
- prevent disabled children being placed at a substantial disadvantage
- be aimed at all disabled children
- be anticipatory – i.e. they should be put in place before the child needs them.
Schools/nurseries should not wait until a child with disabilities requires the use of their services - they should think in advance about what children with a range of impairments might reasonably need. This would apply to children who have a visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairment or a learning disability.
Schools/nurseries must also make reasonable adjustments to policies, practices and procedures that make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled children to join in the full life of the school/nursery.
Under the Equality Act, admission arrangements and other policies must be fair and must not unfairly disadvantage (either directly or indirectly) a child with a disability or special educational needs.
It is important that you get information on the Equality Act and what this means for children with disabilities. Free guides to the Equality Act are available on the internet.
The Equality Act can be a bit overwhelming but just knowing the basics can go a long way to understanding the duties schools and nurseries have to children with a disability - and the role parents and carers can play in supporting teachers.
How to make a magic moment
Providing access to the Something Special web pages is a great way for a school to make a 'reasonable adjustment' for a child with disabilities.
There are many ideas on these web pages that encourage participation for whole-class activities thus promoting inclusion and creating magic moments for all!
Your child's teacher could also click through to the CBeebies iPlayer and search for recent episodes of Something Special to play out a time that suits.
You could also use the iPlayer at home to watch the show with your child. And why not try out some of the fun activities on the website - there are games, songs, clips, stories, as well as Makaton signs to print out.
How CBeebies can help
Whether you're a mum, dad, grandparent, teacher or any other type of carer, the Something Special web pages are such a great way to get involved with your child.
Watch some clips together and have a go at signing with Justin. Or you could print out some of the Makaton signs and display them in your child's bedroom. Don't forget to take anything thing that your child does at home into school (perhaps they coloured in a picture of Mr Tumble) and update your child's teacher with any significant things your child does (e.g. had a go at signing or saying a new word).
Something Special is suitable for all young children - not just children with disabilities – so siblings can also enjoy using the website.