Reasonable adjustments

You should be familiar with the reasonable adjustments duty as this was first introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The reasonable adjustments duty under the Equality Act operates slightly differently and has been extended to cover the provision by a school of auxiliary aids and services. The object of the duty is the same: to avoid as far as possible by reasonable means, the disadvantage which a disabled pupil experiences because of their disability.

This duty sits alongside your duties and those of local authorities under Part 4 of the Education Act 1996. In some cases the support a disabled pupil may receive under the special educational needs framework may mean that they do not suffer a substantial disadvantage (see below) and so there is no need for additional reasonable adjustments to be made for them. In other cases disabled 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. The level of support a pupil is receiving under Part 4 of the Education Act 1996 is one of the factors to be taken into account when you consider what it would be reasonable for you to have to do.  

Auxiliary Aids Technical Guidance

Schools and education authorities have had a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils since 2002 (originally under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the DDA) and, from October 2010, under the Equality Act 2010). From 1 September 2012 the reasonable adjustments duty for schools and education authorities includes a duty to provide auxiliary aids and services for disabled pupils.

This guide will help school leaders and education authorities understand and comply with the reasonable adjustments duty, including the new auxiliary aids and services provision. It will also help disabled pupils and their parents understand the duty.

The focus of this guide is on the practical implementation of the reasonable adjustments duty in schools. It includes practical case studies showing how the duty can be applied in contexts which will be familiar to teachers.

Reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils (PDF)

Reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils (Word)

Reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils - Welsh (Word)

Last Updated: 17 Dec 2014