AUXILIARY AIDS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

September 13th, 2011

In response to a recommendation made by the Lamb Inquiry into parental confidence in the SEN system, whose Report was published on 16 December 2009, an amendment was made to the Bill that is now the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”), so that schools would not be excluded from the third requirement of the “reasonable adjustments” duty, namely the requirement to provide auxiliary aids and services.

However, although most of the Act is now in force, this requirement has not yet been brought into force.

On 12 September 2011 the Department for Education issued a Consultation, for response by 5 December 2011, on implementing this requirement in England.  Parallel consultations will be taking place in Wales and in Scotland.

The Consultation seeks responses on two main issues: firstly, the date when the new obligation should be brought into effect, including consideration of whether there are reasons why it should not be commenced at all, or should be commenced earlier or later than September 2012; secondly, whether Regulations under Section 22 of the Act would be necessary or desirable to define the extent of the obligation on schools and local authorities to provide auxiliary aids as part of their duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils.

James Goudie QC

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