The Equality Act 2010 promised a new duty to require schools (including independent schools) to make reasonable adjustments for a child with a statutory disability which included providing auxiliary aids and services. Auxiliary aids and services are sometimes referred to as “expensive adjustments” such as laptops, qualified note takers etc.
It is a matter of some concern that The Department for Education has published a consultation on the new duty. Broadly the consultation asks two questions:
1. When, or indeed should, the duty be brought into force? It seems that the government intends bringing it into force on 1 September 2012;
2. Should the Government make regulations defining the extent of the obligation?
The consultation discusses the relationship between the new duty and the obligation (on other bodies) to provide auxiliary aids and services to, for instance, statemented pupils. It also asks for general feedback on the degree to which the current system leaves disabled pupils unprovided for. Significantly, it highlights the position of independent schools
The consultation documents (including feedback form) can be found HERE. To counter the risk of auxiliary aids and services not being included in the duty to make reasonable adjustments, anyone who would like the said duty enhanced is advised to engage with the consultation process.