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to expect the school to be wheelchair accessable everywhere?

(65 Posts)
mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 21:18:56

And that in 2013 there should not be large amounts of rooms unaccessable to the wheelchair bound and that my daughter shouldn't have to miss food tech as there is only a food tech room upstairs and stairs? Or have it suggested that she should stay home instead? NOT happy with school.

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 21:55:29

i just looked at their policy on disabled equality. completely ignoring their own words

tethersend Wed 27-Feb-13 21:55:33

Oh, and also:

Schools must have in place either:
• a three year race equality policy and action plan; accessibility plan; disability equality scheme and action plan; gender equality scheme and action plan; equal opportunities policy that covers sexual orientation, age and religion and belief; and a strategy for promoting community cohesion; or
• a three year single equality scheme and action plan that incorporates all the above policies, schemes and plans.

tethersend Wed 27-Feb-13 21:56:21

Death by CnP, sorry.

But they are wrong and discriminating against your DD. I would speak to the LEA.

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 21:57:18

thank you tethersend i will add that to my next email.

BanjoPlayingTiger Wed 27-Feb-13 21:58:56

That is shocking! When I was at school 20 years ago, our school made every effort to accommodate people who needed wheelchairs. To the extent of having people to carry the chairs upstairs to the rooms on the 1st floor.

They adapted the areas where there were steps and put in ramps, they installed wheelchair accessible toilets. This was years ago, the fact that more schools are not already accessible is utterly horrendous!

quoteunquote Wed 27-Feb-13 21:59:18

BriocheDoree Wed 27-Feb-13 22:00:59

You Could also contact ipsea they Could advise you on the legal position.

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:01:07

Thank you for those links, very useful

ProphetOfDoom Wed 27-Feb-13 22:08:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IAmLouisWalsh Wed 27-Feb-13 22:12:49

Before you contact the LA - is it an academy? Cause if so the LA can do bog all.

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:15:11

yes it is sad

IAmLouisWalsh Wed 27-Feb-13 22:17:06

The board of governors/directors is your first port of call, then, and possibly the sponsors if it is a chain.

Some academies do work with LAs but they have no real 'power' over them.

IAmLouisWalsh Wed 27-Feb-13 22:18:33

And academies are notorious for 'illegal' exclusions - certainly the ones I have experience of, anyway - sponsored and converter academies.

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:19:43


mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:21:14

i think we may have to move her but she really doesn't want to leave her very lovely friends and she is very shy and doesnt make friends easily

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:23:16

its an outstanding ofsted school!

deleted203 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:23:48

I don't know the answer to this one, and I agree that it is not acceptable to say your DD should 'stay home', but certainly our school is not fully accessible. Food tech room is upstairs with no wheelchair access. As are computer rooms. I don't really know what the school could/should do about this. There is nowhere to fit a lift/ramp to make the upper floors accessible - nor any money to do so. School buildings are old, and there is barely enough money for the basics such as text books, TBH.

IAmLouisWalsh Wed 27-Feb-13 22:25:04

So it will be a converter academy. And can pretty much do as it pleases. Cheers, Mr Gove

mum382013 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:31:56

thank you so much. night

MidniteScribbler Wed 27-Feb-13 22:35:45

It's awful for your daughter, but I think you should do your best to work with the school, rather than becoming confrontational (which I know is hard when it comes to your children being treated unfairly). Look in to any government or other funding that the school can access to make adjustments for her, offer suggestions for fundraising that you are willing to coordinate if those funds will be used to make the school more accessible for students. Use the words "for current and future students", not just "my daughter" so you are showing it can benefit all students, not just your daughter. Schools have to fight tooth and nail for funding and have all students to consider, so as awful as it is, the needs of one can sometimes be set aside in the bigger picture. Go to them with solutions, make things easier for them (have the applications for grants or funding available, have good workable suggestions for fundraising and a list of parents willing to support you in the running of it, etc) so they can't say no.

Good luck.

tethersend Wed 27-Feb-13 22:40:59

Sorry Midnite, I disagree- OP should not have to persuade the school that its a good idea not to discriminate against her DD. It's the law, and they need to abide by it.

I say that as a teacher.

MidniteScribbler Wed 27-Feb-13 22:52:35

I do agree that they need to abide by the law, absolutely, but have you ever heard the phrase "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar"?

Making modifications to old buildings is difficult. Where do you expect an already overstretched school to pull the money from to fund the building of (or even find the space for) a whole new food tech room, or to put in a lift? Just demanding it doesn't mean that the principal is suddenly going to be able to go to the big pile of money in the hole being the picture in their wall and pay for it. The money has to come from somewhere. Where? Fundraising? That's a good start, so why is it unreasonable to suggest that the OP be willing to offer suggestions for fundraising options when it is for the benefit of her daughter?

BTW, my school did exactly that when we got a student with special needs join the school. Her mother found a community grant available, brought the paperwork to the school, and stood at the school gate begging for signatures for a petition to support the application. She then ran around to lots of businesses to get donations, we had a big auction night, and raised enough to put three stair lifts in to allow her to access all areas of the school. We've now got several other students with special needs have since joined the school and are benefiting from the changes. Problem solved, everyone happy.

Work WITH the school, rather than against them, and you'll find you get a much better reception and people more willing to go out of their way to help.

cory Wed 27-Feb-13 23:06:56

I think there is a danger if you are too submissive to the school.

I spend several years being sweet to dd's junior school: by the end of it, I realised that they were making her crawl up the stairs on her hands and knees to get to her maths lessons because they thought it too much effort to simply change the timetable so her set was the one taught in one of the downstairs rooms. When she was unable to carry on doing this, she got not maths lessons at all. They also refused to let her use the disabled toilet because they thought it would be better to keep it clean for visitors.

Basically, I had spent so much time being submissive and understanding that they thought that I would never challenge anything.

Of course the school is under no obligation to suddenly magic a new building from thin air. But what they are legally obliged to do is to "make reasonable adjustments", that is to be imaginative about the way they work around the problem.

If your dd cannot access this room is there some other way she could access at least part of the curriculum? Some of it is not practical, so she could do this in the school's inclusion room, or wherever else it made sense for her to work. Or is there some other tech subject she could take instead? They may not be able to do what you would most like, but they don't have the option of sending her home; that is definitely illegal.

I blew a fuse when I opened my dd's school report and found that her teacher thought that she might have done better in maths if she had been able to access the lessons. On investigation it transpired that she had spent a whole term's maths lessons sitting alone in a classroom with worksheets and no tuition- while in adjoining classrooms maths lessons were being given to the lower sets, but her top set was upstairs. In her case, reasonable adjustment could easily have been made by letting the sets switch classrooms.

If you google Disability Discrimination education supplement, you should come upon a handy file which gives examples of reasonable adjustment in an educational setting.

cory Wed 27-Feb-13 23:09:00

Not saying you should go in with all guns blazing; as Midnite says, it is better to show willingness to cooperate. But it might be an idea to drop into the conversation that you are aware of the reasonable adjustments concept, maybe even to make some (practical) suggestions.

dayshiftdoris Thu 28-Feb-13 01:02:50

There is always someone eager to encourage you to work with schools for the greater good when it's not THEIR child being affected in the here and now.

OP has a child in a wheelchair TODAY who is unable to access the curriculum TODAY... grants, petitions, getting funding, working with the school and all of that takes months & months...

And from what OP says the situation might have passed by then.... and when it does there will be no need to meet so they will drop it.

I speak from BITTER experience Midnite - I did exactly what you said...
It changed nothing and worse than that my son was seriously affected by the situation whilst I strove to work with professionals to resolve the situation.

I don't think OP is being confrontational... her daughter has needs that are not being met and she has entered into dialogue with the school for THEM to do THEIR job and meet those needs. It is NOT the OP's responsibility to ensure the school is disabled friendly FFS!

Have you been in touch with the school nurse? Failing that I would ask for OT and / or physio to do an urgent assessment.
Also prior to your daughter returning to school they should have done a risk assessment & plans in place should things go wrong... for example if she was to end up on the floor out of the chair does she need support to get up & if so what equipment is needed.

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