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Access Needs

Providing advice to education settings for pupils with access needs

The Physical and Medical Needs Advisory Service can advise and support educational settings to make reasonable adjustments and take positive steps to in order to meet the curriculum access needs of children and young people with Special Educational Need and Disabilities.

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The Physical and Medical Needs advisers can support an educational setting to identify and assess the access needs of individual children and young people in terms of access to:

  • the curriculum
  • the enrichment curriculum eg school clubs, school trips 
  • spoken and  written information and advice
  • the physical school site

Cornwall’s Local Authority Accessibility Strategy includes an Accessibility Audit Tool to support educational settings. The Accessibility Audit Tool supports settings in ensuring that they can: 

  • Identify adaptations needed, including adaptations for children and young people with sensory needs
  • Create solutions to accessibility issues if adaptations are not possible, such as moving groups to accessible areas
  • Use consultation effectively, asking children and young people about physical accessibility, e.g. access to toilets and changing facilities
  • Think creatively about classroom interiors, e.g. making calm, low-sensory stimulation areas available, thinking about the use of curtains to reduce noise levels, removing clutter etc.

In September 2012 the duty to provide auxiliary aids and services (including specialist equipment which could include laptops and tablets) was extended to include schools. This places schools under a duty to provide aids and services where it is reasonable and where it would prevent a disabled pupil being put at a substantial disadvantage when compared to his or her non-disabled peers. The exception to this duty is where the aid or service is specified in a statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care Plan in which case the responsibility to provide the aid or service lies with the LA. Examples of auxiliary aids include coloured layovers, pen grips, adapted physical education equipment, adapted keyboards and computer software.

Further, more detailed, guidance information is available for schools from Physical and Medical Needs Advisors and also within the guidance document 'Provision of Equipment for Children and Young People with Access Needs which can be found within School Messenger.