This is a complex area of law where Governing Bodies and Headteachers need to be aware of their legal responsibilities and how to ensure that their practices and procedures are compliant with the law.
Since 2001, parents have been able to lodge a claim of disability discrimination against the Governing Body of a school (the responsible body) in respect of admissions practices, exclusions from school or the provision of education and associated activities. This process has been strengthend further by the Equality Act 2010.
The consequences of an adverse finding of discrimination can have a negative impact on the school and lead to greater scrutiny of its policies and procedures.
We provide advice to Schools on all aspects of disability discrimination and equality related issues including:
School Policies & Procedures
- Ensuring the schools policies comply with the Equality Act and relevant codes of practice.
School Legal Advice on Disability Related Issues
- Advising on legal issues affecting pupils with a disability and what steps the school can take to reduce the risk of claims being brought against a Governing Body
- Working with parents and the school to ensure that disability related issues are properly addressed
- Advising on reasonable steps that a school might need to make to include a child with a disability, particularly if the child is at risk of exclusion
- Advise you on school trips and ensuring that proper risk assessments and planning are undertaken to ensure that disabled children are not excluded from participating.
Claims of Disability Discrimination Against Schools
- Advising schools on the merits of discrimination claims lodged by parents either in the County Court or the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
- Negotiating settlements with parents if appropriate
- Drafting responses to claims and preparing the evidence Schools will require to defend the claim
- Providing representation for schools at hearings before the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
- Undertaking any remedial action following a successful claim of discrimination including staff training and revisions to school policies