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Special Educational Needs And Disability Act 2001

Disability Discrimination in Education

28.The DDA makes it unlawful to discriminate against disabled people in relation to employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services, buying or renting land or property and certain aspects of transport. The DDA applies to the whole of the United Kingdom.

29.The DDA excludes publicly-funded education and private schools from the scope of the goods and services provisions. Private providers of education and training do, however, fall within the scope of these provisions, although voluntary organisations providing activities designed to promote personal or educational development are excluded by the Disability Discrimination (Services and Premises) Regulations 1996. Nonetheless, these providers of education services still have duties to disabled people in three main areas:

  • employing staff (Part 2);

  • providing non-educational services to the public (Part 3);

  • publishing information about arrangements for disabled pupils and students.

30.Part 2 of the DDA applies to employers with 15 or more employees and provides that discrimination occurs when:

  • a disabled person is treated less favourably than someone else and the treatment is for a reason relating to the person's disability and that reason does not, or would not, apply to others; and

  • this treatment cannot be justified.

31.Less favourable treatment will be justified only if the reason for it is material and substantial and there is no adjustment which would enable the disabled person to do the job concerned or take up another vacant position. To enable a disabled person to do their job, employers may have to make reasonable adjustments to their employment arrangements or premises if these substantially disadvantage a disabled person compared to a person who is not disabled.

32.Under Part 3 of the DDA, unlawful discrimination against disabled people occurs when:

  • a service provider refuses them service; or

  • provides them service on worse terms; or

  • provides a lower standard of service; or

  • fails to comply with a duty to make a reasonable adjustment if it is impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access any such service; and

  • in each case this treatment or failure to make an adjustment cannot be justified.

33.Less favourable treatment will be justified only if the reason for it is: to avoid endangering the health and safety of any individual; that the disabled person is incapable of entering into an enforceable agreement or of giving informed consent; that the service provider would otherwise be unable to provide their service to the disabled person and/or other members of the public. In each case, it must also be reasonable for the service provider to hold that opinion. Service providers must take reasonable steps to change policies, practices or procedures which make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use a service, provide auxiliary aids or services to enable them to use a service and overcome physical barriers by providing a service by a reasonable alternative method.

34.There are also obligations on LEAs, in relation to further education (s.528 EA) and governing bodies of LEA maintained schools (s.317(6) EA) to give information about facilities for disabled people and

  • the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in England and the National Council for Education and Training in Wales (CETW) may require institutions in the further education sector to give such information as a condition of grant (sections 6 and 35 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 (LSA)); and

  • Higher Education Funding Councils must require institutions in the higher education sector to give such information as a condition of grant (section 65 of the Further & Higher Education Act 1992).

It is also possible for the LSC in England and the CETW in Wales to impose conditions on further education institutions relating to their provision for disabled pupils.

35.Statutory guidance about the DDA can be found in the following publications:

  • “DDA 1995: Guidance on Matters to be Taken into Account in Determining Questions Relating to the Definition of Disability.” ISBN 0-11-270955-9.

  • “DDA 1995: Code of Practice for the Elimination of Discrimination in the Field of Employment Against Disabled Persons or Persons who have had a Disability.” ISBN 0- 11-270954-0.

  • “DDA 1995: Code of Practice: Rights of Access - Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises.” ISBN 0-11-271055 -7.

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