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School Ignores Disability Discrimination Law

View profile for Nathan Davies
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A recent story in the press highlighted the need for schools to be reminded of their statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010:

This article is concerning not only as it shows that this school has taken steps to exclude disabled children for reasons relating to their disabilities, but also that they clearly do not understand that this is unlawful.

A disability is defined by the Equality Act as being ‘a physical or mental impairment’ which has a ‘substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities’. When a child has a diagnosis of ASD, ODD or ADHD for example, then they would have the protection of the Act and this prevents the school from discriminating against them if they present with behavioural difficulties as a feature of their condition. 

What the school in the article has done in essence is remove children who present with behavioural difficulties to improve their statistics, even though this is contravening their legal responsibilities. Their ignorance of their statutory duties is highly inappropriate and unlawful. 

If a child has encountered discrimination which is directly or indirectly related to their disability then you have the ability to proceed to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal (in England and Wales) who will determine whether the school have acted lawfully. It must be noted however that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to award compensation for parents who are successful in showing that a school’s conduct has breached the Equality legislation. The main remedies that would be awarded include additional training being provided for staff, a change to school policies and/or a formal apology.

This process can be very complex and requires the involvement of a specialist education lawyer. If you would like to speak to our experienced disability discrimination solicitors then do not hesitate to call the department today on 02920 291704.