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Schools lose auxiliary aids and services exemption

19 April 2010

Last week, the Equality Act passed into law, removing the exemption for schools in relation to the provision of auxiliary aids and services for pupils with a disability.  Since 2001, schools have been under a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for pupils with a disability.  However, until now schools were not obliged to take reasonable steps to provide extra resources, such as equipment or teaching assistants, which were expected to be provided by local authorities through the statementing regime.  

The new duty on schools is certain to impact on their budgets.  However, it is unclear what rights of redress schools will have, if any, against local authorities that unreasonably fail to specify auxiliary aids and services in Statements, leaving schools potentially to pick up the tab from what might arguably be inadequate delegated funds.  The removal of the exemption for schools means there are interesting times ahead for lawyers and education professionals alike.

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Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

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