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Wheelchairs and schools

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Apologies if this sounds like a stupid post but I need to know where I stand on a few things.

I’ve been having ongoing medical problems since May 2010, mainly to do with my mobility and being in a lot of pain and have been told I’m going to need surgery on my hip. The result of this is either going to be having time off school this year to have it done and then being in a wheelchair, then crutches for quite a while or having surgery next academic year but still being in a wheelchair (or crutches if I’m lucky) until then because of the amount of pain I’m in and how restricted my movement is. Not ideal, because I’m in my final year of school trying to do A levels at the moment, but what can you do?

Anyway, I’ve told my 6th form about this. The 6th form which I go to is linked with other schools in my town, meaning I have lessons at another school as well as my “home institution”. Whilst my base school have been fine about this and have no issue with me being in a wheelchair, the other school which I attend for 3 hours a week have kicked up a bit of a fuss, saying they can’t accommodate to my “disabled needs” and I won’t be able to attend there because my lessons are upstairs.

At first I just accepted this, but after some thought, I’m now pretty angry. The school has a lift, which admittedly is broken, so fine I can’t use it, but the fact that they won’t allow me into the school if I’m in a wheelchair has naffed me off a bit, particularly as they have disabled access. I then did a bit of research and found this on their website:

“[school name] aims to create conditions whereby staff and students are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential by ensuring that no member of the School is unfairly discriminated against as a result of gender, colour, ethnic or national origin, age, social background, disability, religious or political beliefs, family circumstances or sexual orientation.

The School will take steps to enable staff and students who become disabled during their time at the School to continue in their chosen career or school career.”


So, I don’t really know where I stand. Obviously if I can’t go to those lessons fine, I will teach myself that part of the course, but can a school turn round can say that I can’t be on their school site if I’m in a wheelchair despite having publicly written that? Maybe it’s me, but the two seem to contradict each other.

Thanks :)

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Never mind what they've written on their website, the school would appear to be acting in contravention of the Disability Discrimination Act. A school should take all reasonable steps to accommodate a person with a disability and should not have a blanket policy. Even if the lesson is usually held upstairs, there is no reason as to why your lessons cannot be moved on to the ground floor.

    If they won't budge on the issue, you should look at getting legal advice. The Equality and Human Rights Commission have an excellent helpline.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    One of the boys I went to college with broke his leg while I was there and they switched our rooms around because he couldn't get up the stairs. Unless you're in a specialist classroom, there is no reason whatsoever that they can't switch someone else's classroom with yours.

    Also tell them to fix their god damn lift.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's fucking outrageous. Local rag methinks, MP, local councillor. My local councillor is great. Ooo and board of governors or whatever schools have now.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lauralu wrote: »
    the other school which I attend for 3 hours a week have kicked up a bit of a fuss, saying they can’t accommodate to my “disabled needs” and I won’t be able to attend there because my lessons are upstairs.

    Sounds more like "we can't be bothered to accommodate you".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    inclusion is a big thing is school these day and everyones needs have to be catered for. they are breaking laws.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lauralu wrote: »
    Whilst my base school have been fine about this and have no issue with me being in a wheelchair, the other school which I attend for 3 hours a week have kicked up a bit of a fuss, saying they can’t accommodate to my “disabled needs” and I won’t be able to attend there because my lessons are upstairs.

    That statement alone contravenes the DDA (as Arctic Roll has said), so I would seek legal advice ASAP
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you all so much for the advice, I’m very grateful.

    I don’t want to make a fuss about this because I don’t see myself as disabled – I’m still the same person I was before, but with restricted mobility. In all honesty, getting legal advice etc when I’m only going to be there another 5 months is frustrating, but I can’t change this and I don’t want others being treated the same way, so it needs to be done. I’m going to discuss this with them again and take it from there.

    Again, thank you all very much :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MoK wrote: »
    That statement alone contravenes the DDA (as Arctic Roll has said), so I would seek legal advice ASAP
    The DDA is now incorporated into the Equality Act, and requires employers and public services to accommodate your needs (the key phrase is that they must make "reasonable adjustment", and I think that timetabling your classes on the ground floor and / or fixing the lift is well within the bounds of reason). There is also a document called the Disability Equality Duty which is key for HE (and I believe FE).

    If you're at a 6th form college, you may find that NUS' Disabled Students' Campaign useful, too.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Lauralu, :wave:

    Understandably you are concerned about the school's response to your situation at the moment regarding your restricted mobility. However, you seem sensible and headstrong and it's great that you have sought advice about this. As you say you will only be there for 5 months but it's excellent that you are thinking about other people who may have to go through the same thing in the future.

    The other posters have given some really sound advice. Arctic Roll
    Never mind what they've written on their website, the school would appear to be acting in contravention of the Disability Discrimination Act
    and frankipanda
    Unless you're in a specialist classroom, there is no reason whatsoever that they can't switch someone else's classroom with yours
    are spot on.

    There is a DirectGov webpage with more information about Disability and the Equality Act 2010 (which has now replaced much of the Disability Discrimination Act). There is a page about the Disability Equality Duty too.

    Also, as Arctic Roll mentioned, you can call the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 0845 604 6610 - England main number (Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm).

    I hope this helps.

    Have you spoken to the school yet and what has their response been? Keep us posted and good luck with your studies.

    :)
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