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Disability Discrimination Act


We don't like disclaimers but as we aren't lawyers we have to make it clear that this is our interpretation of copyright law in the UK as it applies to printed materials – books, journals, newsletters, worksheets and so on. It isn't a statement of the law. If you find anything wrong please do let us know.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) applies across many areas of society, making it unlawful to discriminate against disabled people accessing goods and services, using public transport and so on.

In December 2006 the DDA was further strengthened with public bodies having to promote disability equality in all their practices to ensure they don’t discriminate against disabled people. Public bodies have to anticipate what these needs might be, rather than just react to them after the fact.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA 2001)

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) amends the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and introduces new duties under Part IV that apply to education. SENDA requires education authorities or other responsible bodies (for example independent schools) not to treat disabled people less favourably and to make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting disabled people at a disadvantage.

Part IV – SENDA 2001

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) extended disability discrimination law into education by introducing Part IV.

Disability Strategies act

In Scotland the planning duties for SENDA were set out a year later in the Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils’ Educational Records) (Scotland) Act 2002. This act sets out three areas of planning duties with education authorities having to improve access to:

  • The physical environment;
  • The curriculum;
  • Information and communication.

The Scottish Executive produced accompanying guidance to authorities on how to prepare these accessibility strategies:

  1. The Scottish Executive: Guidance on Planning to Improve Access to Education for Pupils with Disabilities: Guidance on Preparing Accessibility Strategies 2002;
  2. The Scottish Executive: Report on the First Round of Accessibility Strategies Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education and Disability Rights Commission (2003) ISBN: 0-7559-4018-0.

The guidance includes practical examples of what should be done by schools and authorities to improve matters for disabled learners. Several cited the need for pupils to have access to curriculum materials – textbooks, reading books, worksheets etc. in accessible alternative formats.

In a follow up evaluation of accessibility strategies one year on, Scottish Executive noted that education authorities needed to do more to improve access to the curriculum and to information and communication.