It’s against the law for a school or other education provider to treat disabled students unfavourably. This includes:
- ‘direct discrimination’ - eg refusing admission to a student because of disability
- ‘indirect discrimination’ - eg only providing application forms in one format that may not be accessible
- ‘discrimination arising from a disability’ - eg a disabled pupil is prevented from going outside at break time because it takes too long to get there
- ‘harassment’ - eg a teacher shouts at a disabled student for not paying attention when the student’s disability stops them from easily concentrating
- victimisation – eg suspending a disabled student because they’ve complained about harassment
An education provider has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure disabled students are not discriminated against. These changes could include:
- changes to physical features - for example, creating a ramp so that students can enter a classroom
- providing extra support and aids (such as specialist teachers or equipment)
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
All publicly-funded pre-schools, nurseries, state schools and local authorities must try to identify and help assess children with Special Educational Needs.
All universities and higher education colleges should have a person in charge of disability issues that you can talk to about the support they offer.
You can also ask local social services for an assessment to help with your day-to-day living needs.