Intro to Legislation

Category: Education

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An Introduction to the Disability Legislation Pre-requisite Presentation

Why? The Legislation!: 

Why? The Legislation! Aside from ethical and good practice reasons for designing accessible materials, there is now a legal imperative: European Legislation (eEurope Action Plan, adoption of WAI guidelines – explained later). Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Act 2001 (SENDA)

DDA 1995: 

DDA 1995 Disability Discrimination Act 1995: Entire Act at Part 1 Defines Disability. Part 2 Outlaws discrimination in Employment. Part 3 Outlaws discrimination in Other Areas (Service Provision) – illegal for goods and service providers to unjustifiably discriminate against individuals as a result of their disability. Education not included.

SENDA 2001: 

SENDA 2001 Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001: Entire Act at Became Part 4 of the DDA. All services provided wholly or mainly for students are covered, including learning materials and assessment. The institution is responsible for ensuring the accessibility of any products or services it procures. NB the term ‘SENDA compliance’ has no legal definition – it’s DDA compliance we are concerned with.

Definition of Disability: 

Definition of Disability “A person has a disability for the purposes of this Act if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” Disability Discrimination Act 1995

What It Says…: 

What It Says… Not treat a disabled person ‘less favourably’ for a reason relating to their disability. Required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ if a disabled person would otherwise be placed at a ‘substantial disadvantage’. Adjustments should be ‘anticipatory’. Applies to all admissions, enrolments and other ‘student services’ which includes assessment and teaching materials.

What It Means…: 

What It Means… Changes to institutional policies and practices. Changes to course requirements or work placements. Provision of materials in alternative formats. Adjustments expected are relative to resources available. The extent of expected adjustments will be determined by case law (e.g. SOCOG).

What It Does Not Mean…: 

What It Does Not Mean… Compromising Health and Safety. Lowering of Academic standards. Adversely affecting other students. Placing the institution in a financially precarious position. Taking personal responsibility in court – the institution’s governing body is ultimately responsible for any discriminatory activity by its staff – but watch out!

Reasonable Adjustments: An Example: 

Reasonable Adjustments: An Example Boy with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, can only concentrate for 20 minutes. School refused to split their 2-hour 11-plus exam into sections for him to take with breaks in between sections. DRC took school to arbitration. School now offers 11-plus exam in three sections over three days.


Conclusion SENDA has implications for the entire institution in terms of awareness and practice. Existing good practice within an institution may already meet SENDA requirements. SENDA encourages reflective practice thus raising standards.

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