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School disabled access - ramp "too expensive". How do we get around this? Any advice/tips?

(8 Posts)
ladylush Wed 05-Oct-11 21:39:52

dd (2) has CP. Her db's school is expanding but there are no plans to provide disabled access. Grounds are split-level and only access from upper to lower level is via steep, narrow stair case. Not suitable for kaye walker and certainly not possible for a child in a wheelchair. Shouldn't the LEA pay? Is there any legislation that I could quote that might get them to fund this?

AgentProvocateur Wed 05-Oct-11 21:42:21

I think the wording is "reasonable adjustment" and the argument would be that the cost would make it unreasonable. Of course, morally they should be accessible to all children... Have you asked for them to install a ramp and have they refused?

NappyShedSal Wed 05-Oct-11 22:08:32

Get onto your pre-school teacher counsellor as she may be able to contact education officer assigned to that school. Or contact the education officer yourself and make it clear that your intention is that your DD will be attending that school in 2 years time, so you are giving them the opportunity to plan any adapatations needed.

Agnesdipesto Wed 05-Oct-11 22:18:19

Well jumping ahead if you applied for a statement of SEN and at school age named this school as your preference then the LA would have to (under current legislation) allow your child to go there unless it would be incompatible with the education of other children or incur the unreasonable use of resources. Councils have to do all they can to make it accessible and compatible. So they would have to show the building of a ramp was unreasonable expenditure.

You could also look at the Equality Act.

You should contact the SEN team at the Council and also your MP and flag it up now before building work is too far along

TBH it doesn't sound very safe for lots of children to be using a steep staircase.

You could also object to the planning application possibly

anonandlikeit Wed 05-Oct-11 22:44:21

is the entry point accesible. If the child/person is able to access the building & toilets hall for meals etc then they can chose to teach the child on a ground floor level only.
This would be seen as a "reasonable adjustment" if however (this is usually only in secondary schools) all science labs or art classes or areas with a specific teaching facility are upstairs then the LEA must also make these areas accessible otherwise they are denying the child access to the curriculum equal to that available to non disabled peers & therefore in breach of DDA.
In the case of one local school with very old building they had to install a lift at huge expense to make all areas of the building usable by the disabled.

Don't forget once alterations are done then ALL disabled people can utilise them, they can then employ disabled staff & welcome other disabled children & visitors it should be seen as a cost that is purely borne because they are educating your child.
If the school otherwise can meet your childs needs and it is your school of choice the LEA would be very ahrd pushed to find reasons to refuse without being in breach of DDA.

anonandlikeit Wed 05-Oct-11 22:46:43

Ladylush, if the school is expanding any structural alterations must meet the current building regulations and current building regs do include Disabled access when its a public building.

anonandlikeit Wed 05-Oct-11 22:49:02

I do know of a case where a school/LEA refused to accommodate a child but the school was a very old victorian school with very narrow corridors & doorways the child used an electric wheelchair and they were not able to safely alter the building to accommodate.

ladylush Thu 06-Oct-11 06:11:20

Thanks for all your replies. They say there is a budget for less than 10k but a ramp would cost about 30k. I'm not sure what budget they are talking about but will find out. Anyhow, they propose to build another staircase (which I gather was already planned). As a concession, they are suggesting the steps should be "wide" - I assume to accommodate a kaye walker. I should point out that there is no issue in terms of access within the school itself as it is all on one level. Also there is a ramp at the side of the school which enables access to the lower playground. However, the children access the playgrounds and field from the opposite side of the school and there is no ramp there. So if dd were to go to the school, she could potentially walk round the building but it would be labour intensive, not inclusive and by the time she joined her peers she'd have lost play time and it would be difficult for her to interchange between the upper/lower playground - as is common for the other children.

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