Accessibility Plan

Meadow High School - School Accessibility And Disability Plan

JAN 2015 VERSION

 

1 - School Accessibility Plan

 

The SEN and Disability Act 2001 extended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) to cover education.  Since September 2002, the Governing Body has had three key duties towards pupils with disabilities, under Part 4 of the DDA:

  • Not to treat pupils with disabilities less favourably for any reason related to their disability;
  • To make reasonable adjustments for pupils with disabilities, so that they are not at a substantial disadvantage;
  • To plan to increase access to education for pupils with disabilities.

This plan sets out the proposals of the Governing Body of the school to increase access to education for pupils with disabilities in the three areas required by the planning duties in the DDA:

  • Increasing the extent to which pupils with disabilities can participate in the school curriculum;
  • Improving the environment of the school to increase the extent to which pupils with disabilities can take advantage of education and associated services;
  • Improving the delivery to pupils with disabilities ensuring the best information is available to aid future choices

It is a requirement that the school’s accessibility plan is resourced, implemented, reviewed and revised as necessary and reported on annually.  Attached is a set of action plans showing how the school will address the priorities identified in the plan.

Definition of disability

A person has a disability if he (or she) has ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his (or her) ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’  (DDA 1995 Part 1.1.)

‘Physical impairment includes sensory impairment, such as those affecting sight or hearing as well as conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy. (Disability Rights Commission 2006 The Duty to promote Disability Equality).

‘Mental impairment’ includes any impairment resulting from or consisting of a mental illness. This definition has been broadened by the DDA 2005 to include mental illness, which has not been ‘clinically well-recognised’ (DDA 2005 ch.13.18).  “A particular condition exists, whether or not it has been officially diagnosed…. Equally a diagnosis does not of itself mean that a child is covered by the DDA…It is the effect on… ability to carry out day-to-day activities that has to be considered…A child’s ability to memorise, concentrate, learn, speak, move is central to their education. An impairment that has a long-term and substantial effect on a child’s ability to do these things may amount to a disability” (DfES 2006 Implementing the DDA in schools and early years settings).

The term is meant to cover a wide range of impairments relating to mental functioning, including ‘learning disabilities’ and hidden impairments such as dyslexia, autism, speech and language impairments and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Meadow High School welcomes the broad definition of disability as in government guidance:  ‘For planning purposes and for avoidance of discrimination, it may be helpful to think of more pupils with SEN being included within the definition of disability rather than fewer: it is likely that many of the pupils who have SEN and a statement, or who are at School Action Plus, or Early Years Action Plus, will count as disabled.’ (Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act in schools and early years settings’ 2006)

See Appendix 1 for more detailed explanation of the definition of disability.

Who the plan is for

This plan belongs to the whole of the community of Meadow High School, members with disabilities and members without disabilities. The plan strategically maps out the school’s vision and consequent practical implications to improve access for the children with disabilities who are in the school now, and those children who may come in the future -- children who are in the school system but at an earlier key stage, and children who are not yet in the school system, but about whom the local authority and other agencies may have information.

1A: The purpose and direction of the school’s plan - Vision and values

a)Vision for all Children

Meadow High School is committed to the principles of the National Curriculum Inclusion Statement, which are to set suitable learning challenges, respond to pupils’ diverse needs and overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.

See Appendix 2 for further details of the National Inclusion Statement.

 

b) Vision for LDD Children 

Meadow High School’s vision for pupils with disabilities is based upon its wider commitment to equal opportunities - that every child matters - and therefore all children are made welcome irrespective of race, creed or impairment. The school believes that:

  • Every child has a fundamental right to education, and must be given the opportunity to achieve
  • Every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs
  • Children with LDD must have access to education which should accommodate them within a child-centred pedagogy capable of meeting these needs
  • Inclusion and participation are essential to human dignity and to the enjoyment and exercise of human rights. (Salamanca Statement)

Meadow High School has high ambitions for all of its pupils regardless of any disability. The school upholds the ‘social model of disability’, that is, the view that children with disabilities experience social disadvantage, which ‘is not the inevitable result of their impairments or medical conditions, but rather stems from attitudinal or environmental barriers’. (The Duty to Promote Disability Equality: Statutory Code of Practice, DfES 2005). The school therefore welcomes the widened remit of the Disability Discrimination Act to ensure that children with disabilities have full access to education, in particular, in terms of the curriculum, the physical environment and information, and are treated ‘more favourably’ so that their rights to achievement are positively promoted and reinforced.

1B:  Information from pupil data and school audit

Who is in the school?

Meadow High School has a total of 226 pupils aged from 11-19. The boy/girl ratio is 66% / 34%. The proportion of pupils applying for free school meals (not necessarily eligible) is 25%.

As a Special Educational Needs school all of our pupils have learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD). However the national average is 18% (180 pupils out of 1000), and  Hillingdon’s overall average of 21.4%  It is important to recognise that these difficulties can be compounded by multiple levels of disadvantage that can include physical disabilities; English as an additional language and social deprivation (as measured by the number of pupils who get free school meals).

The breakdown of Meadow High School’s types of LDD, as a percentage of the total number of pupils with LDD in the school is as follows: 5% have sensory / physical needs. 30% have speech, language and communication difficulties. 15% have a specific learning difficulty. 10% have emotional, social and behavioural difficulty. 40% have autistic spectrum disorder.   All of the school population is statemented and many of the pupils have complex learning needs and multiple disabilities.

Due to the complex nature of the needs of pupils at Meadow High School specialist Personalised programmes are designed for individuals.  A comprehensive Access Plan with appropriate provisions accompanies this policy statement.  All staff are appropriately trained to deliver the various components of this plan and have been fully consulted on the design, implementation and delivery of it.

 

2 - The main priorities in the school’s plan

2A:  Increasing the extent to which pupils with specific disabilities can participate in the school curriculum

Policy

The school is keen to provide increased access to the curriculum for children and young people with LDD, so that they have courses made available to them which:

  • Build on their interests and aptitudes, matching their potential and prior attainment, and are part of relevant curricular pathways and recognised qualifications.
  • Provide real opportunities for progression, training and work.
  • Involve personalised learning whereby the pace and approach to learning meets individual needs.

     (Raising Barriers to Achievement DfES 2004)

 

2B:  Improving the physical environment of the school to increase the extent to which pupils with disabilities can take advantage of education and associated services

Policy

Meadow High School’s commitment to providing access to its pupils with LDD is central to its building and refurbishment projects. Following widespread consultation with all stakeholders, it was felt that the design principles of the draft non-statutory guidance Building Bulletin 77: Designing for pupils with Special Educational Needs and disabilities in Schools reflects the school’s own vision for its children with LDD:

“It is essential to provide a high quality of design in learning environments for all pupils, especially for those children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities…to provide learning opportunities and challenges that lead to positive outcomes for all pupils. Inclusive design can enable and empower children and young people to participate in life at school and in the wider community”.

The school therefore has adopted the principles of document to drive its own building and refurbishment plans. 

 

2C:  Improving the delivery to disabled pupils of information that is provided in writing for pupils who are not disabled:

Policy

Meadow High School is keen implement it duties under the DDA to improve the delivery of information for pupils with LDD, which is provided in writing for pupils who do not have a disability: within a reasonable time and ways which are determined after taking account of their disability and any preferences expressed by them or their parents.

The purpose of this duty is so that children can access education and all school activities, either on site or off site, by alternative means of communication, in order that they are not disadvantaged by their disability.

Management, implementation and co-ordination of the plan

Planning process

The governing body will review the accessibility plan annually at the summer termly meeting of the whole body of governors. However, there will be an on-going committee established to discuss the plan and keep it under review during the year.

The plan will last for a period of 3 years (Last 2012) but is a working document, to be amended as necessary. There will be an on-going review process in place by means of a working party, comprising children with LDD, their parents, staff and governors, external partners and voluntary agencies working with children and disability.

Links with other school policies and plans

The accessibility plan will link to the School Development Plan, the Equal Opportunities Plan, the Special Educational Needs Policy and Inclusion Policy.

 

Implementation

Lead responsibility for this plan is to be in the hands of a committee to be made up of a representative from, a named governor responsible for access and inclusion and a member of the senior management team.

 

Resources and Funding

Will be provided from the Schools Access Initiative, the school’s devolved capital budget and delegated budget.

 

Getting Hold of the School Plan

The accessibility plan will be made available to children, parents, and all stakeholders in written text and alternative forms of communication, summary in the school prospectus, on the school website, and a copy for each child and their parents

 

ACCESSIBILITY PLAN

Impact of the previous Accessibility Plan

Implementation since the 2005-2015 Accessibility plans has seen the following improvements: 
 

Curriculum Access:

  • Installation of a soft room (now decommissioned)
    Installation of interactive white boards in every classroom
  • Modification of curriculum documents to improve the learning of all children including those with more complex learning difficulties and the more able and talented children (LATEST MODIFICATIONS IN 2014-15)
  • Training for all staff in development of functional communication,  autism and behaviour management
  • Training for specifically identified staff in the health care management programmes related to particular children’s needs (Specialist Alert Programme 2013)
  • Training in correct lifting and assisting children with physical needs over transfers etc
  • Development of the use of electronic communication aids for use by children with more acute communication needs
  • Significant investment in therapy services
  • Installation of a sensory integration room.
  • Introduced Life and living skills as a taught subject at KS5
  • Installation of new school gates and fencing

The Physical Environment
 

  • Reviewed the building for wheelchair access with some new ramps and access ways.
  • Improved signage by the use of symbols on the school site
  • Re-laid the paths around the outside of the school to eliminate trip hazards
  • Purchase of specialist equipment such as sloping writing boards, specialist seating, wobble cushions, adapted cutlery and scissors etc
  • Re-fitted ramps
  • Door widening programme commenced
  • Electronic door access for wheel chair users
  • All glass is safety requirement compliant
     

Access to Information about the school

  • In addition to information being provided in simple language, symbols and print of various sizes plus using photographs.
  • Development of the school website
  • The use of communication through newsletters to significantly improve home school liaison
  • Access to information in different languages or interpreter if required
  • Development of a home-school computer based communication link to improve liaison between school and parents and to assist parents in their meetings with partner agencies

 

Impact of these developments

The population of children attending Meadow High School continues to reflect a diverse range of needs and the complexity of our children’s needs has increased. We have been able to admit all (except one) children who have been referred to us and all members of the school community have full access to every aspect of the life of the school. The majority of children in all three key stages have been shown to make progress that is at least comparable and often higher than children in similar school situations (DfE bench marking data)

 

MEADOW HIGH SCHOOL

       Accessibility Plan 2015-17
  • This is a working document and the management and review of the accessibility policy and plan are linked into existing school operations and structures in the following ways :-
  • The school has been part of the discussions with the LA in relation to the current building position. Loss of BSF has affected proposed plans but a suitability and sufficiency survey has been concluded showing some 3000 square metre of accommodation shortfall. The school has been accepted onto the Priority school building programme which stated in February 2015 with preliminary information gathering
  • An agenda item will be at the summer meeting of the governors’ resources committee following a site inspection undertaken by the EFA in April.
  • Feedback to the first full governing body meeting of the summer term though the premises committee minutes and the head teacher’s termly report to governors.
  • The action plan is to be reviewed every year and the equalities statement on a three year cycle.

 

Area for Development

Short term

Medium term

Long Term

1. Curriculum access

Review curriculum delivery ensuring all children have the most appropriate curriculum and method of delivery

Including the new National Curriculum requirements

 

Further extending the multi-sensory curriculum, particularly in relation to sensory integration

Continue to Develop the curriculum such that there is an increased focus on self help and life skills.

Further staff training on sensory integration and Alert Programme.

Develop O.T. services increasing the delivery of sensory integration programmes.

 

 

Audit Assistive technology provision

 

 

 

 

 

 

Develop resource bank of assistive technology

2. Physical Environment

Redevelop car park access and surrounds

URGENT

Replace temporary class bases with permanent structures

New Build

Physical Environment

 

Installation of hearing loops in reception and school hall areas.

Development of outside play area to support access to play equipment for all children

Ensuring a suitable staff structure to support complex needs and continuing  staff training in addressing the medical needs and care of our children to ensure children’s full and safe access to the activities of the school

 

Improve access to the multi-sensory learning environment for those with physical disabilities and wheel chair users

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use of communication aids to ensure that children with communication needs are able to express their views

 

Providing more integrated support plans with partner agencies for families of children with complex needs

Modify toilet/ cloakrooms to provide safer access for all users

3. Access to Information

Maintain website and direct links to parent/carer

Review communication routes to parents/carers

 

 

 

THIS POLICY WAS REVIEWED BY THE GOVERNING BODY AND WILL STAND IN ITS ENTIRETY UNTIL FURTHER REVIEW OR LEGISLATION CHANGE

 

DATED _______/_________/_____________

 

Signed _________________________________

 

…………………………………………………

 

DATE OF NEXT REWRITING OF PLANS – SEPTEMBER 2017

 

Meeting of governors to be convened and new plan approved

 

 

 

Identifying Barriers to Access: A Checklist

This list should help you identify barriers to access that exists in schools. The list is not exhaustive. It is designed to encourage a flexible approach to the further questioning of the accessibility of your school

SECTION 1: How does your school deliver the curriculum?

Question                                                                                       YES      NO

  • Do you ensure that teachers and teaching assistants

have the necessary training to teach and support disabled pupils?        

  • Are your classrooms optimally organised for disabled pupils?                
  • Do lessons provide opportunities for all pupils to achieve?                       
  • Are lessons responsive to pupil diversity?
  • Do lessons involve work to be done by individuals, pairs, groups, and the whole class?
  • Are all pupils encouraged to take part in music, drama and physical activities?
  • Do staff recognise and allow for the mental effort expended by some disabled pupils, for example using lip reading?
  • Do staff recognise and allow for the additional time required by some disabled pupils to use equipment in practical work?
  • Do staff provide alternative ways of giving access to experience or understanding for disabled pupils who cannot engage in particular activities, for example some forms of exercise in physical education?
  • Do you provide access to computer technology appropriate for students with disabilities?
  • Are school visits, including overseas visits, made accessible to all pupils irrespective of attainment or impairment?
  • Are there high expectations of all pupils?
  • Do staff seek to remove all barriers to learning and participation?

 

Section 2: Is your school designed to meet the needs of all pupils?

 

Question                                                                                          YES    NO

 

Does the size and layout of areas – including all academic, sporting, play, social facilities, classrooms, the assembly hall, canteen, library, gymnasium and outdoor sporting facilities, playgrounds and common rooms – allow access for all pupils?

Can pupils who use wheelchairs move around the school without experiencing barriers to access such as those caused by doorways, steps and stairs, toilet facilities and showers?

Are pathways of travel around the school site and parking arrangements safe, routes logical and well signed?

Are emergency and evacuation systems set up to inform ALL pupils, including pupils with SEN and disability; including alarms with both visual and auditory components?

Are non-visual guides used, to assist people to use buildings including lifts with tactile buttons?

Could any of the decor or signage be considered to be confusing or disorientating for disabled pupils with visual impairment, autism or epilepsy?

Are areas to which pupils should have access well lit?

Are steps made to reduce background noise for hearing impaired pupils such as considering a room’s acoustic, noisy equipment?

Is furniture and equipment selected, adjusted and located appropriately?

 

 

Section 3: How does your school deliver materials in other formats?

Question                                                                                            YES   NO

 

Do you provide information in simple language, symbols, large print, on    audiotape or in Braille for pupils and prospective pupils who may have    difficulty with standard forms of printed information?

 

Do you ensure that information is presented to groups in a way which is user friendly for people with disabilities e.g. by reading aloud overhead projections and describing diagrams?

 

Do you have the facilities such as ICT to produce written information in different formats?

 

Do you ensure that staff are familiar with technology and practices developed to assist people with disabilities?