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Disabled parent access to school

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by SayItLikeItIs, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Hi Head Teachers

    This probably isn't strictly the right forum, but I thought this was the nearest place where I would find an answer!

    My little boy has just started in Reception. I am unable to take & fetch him as I have ruptured my Achilles Tendon and mobility is really difficult. We are really lucky that my husband has been able to take time out to do the school run. However, as an ex-teacher, I think my understanding of how things work in schools is greater than his.

    Hence my desire to attend the 'Introduction to Life in Reception' meeting for parents in his classroom next week. Unfortunately his classroom is upstairs and there is no access other than by the stairs. Is it reasonable for me to ask the school to have the meeting in a ground floor room, such as the hall? And does the school have to comply under the DDA/Equality Act 2010? I appreciate that all rooms in the school are likely to be in use and that one group of children would need to be relocated to another room, which might be inconvenient for them.

    I think I have equal right to attend along with other parents, but I don't think it should be by way of shuffling up the stairs backwards on my bottom. I have to do it at home, but that is relatively private!

    I not sure whether technically I fit the definition of 'disabled' but the reality of it is that I am. Does anyone have experience of this kind of situation? I would appreciate your feedback.
     
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I hope the rupture isn't too painful.

    Although you say you don't know if "technically" you fit the definition of disabled that technicality is all-important to your rights under the Equality Act 2010! That Act defines disability as "a physical or a mental condition which has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to do normal day to day activities".

    As I know nothing about Achilles tendon ruptures and nor am I doctor or lawyer I can't say whether you are disabled as meant by the Act but my suspicion is that you aren't because presumably you expect the rupture to heal within, say, the next 6-12 months so the 'long term' criteria may not be met. If your current inability to go upstairs is not an Equality Act disability you have no special legal rights or protection. If it is legally a disability then the school must make 'reasonable adjustments' and moving the meeting to a downstairs room would seem to me a 'reasonable adjustment'.

    But worrying about your legal rights seems a bit defeatist before you have even asked :) Why would the school hide behind its strict legal duties and refuse to accommodate you just because your disability wasn't long-term enough to meet the Act definition? You are certainly unable to get to the meeting room now, when the meeting is being held. So you should ask for it to be moved so that you can attend.

    If the head is difficult you could just state that you are disabled at the moment and you want the school to make 'reasonable adjustments'. The head probably doesn't know the Equality Act definition off by heart but will know about the duty to make 'reasonable adjustments'. You wouldn't actually be claiming it's a disability under the Act, just disability in its day-to-day usage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  3. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    Your condition is unlikely to meet the criteria of a disability as defined by s6 Equality Act 2010 unless it has lasted, or is expected to last at least twelve months and has a substantial impact on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Unless it is a disability in law, the school has no duty to make reasonable adjustments for you.

    However, switching rooms to accommodate you would be a very minor inconvenience for the school and would help to establish good relations with parents. Why wouldn't a good Head agree? Why not ring the school, or drop them an email and explain your predicament?
     
    Flanks and nomad like this.
  4. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Many thanks for your replies. I have emailed the school and am waiting on their reply.
     
  5. diamondjane

    diamondjane Occasional commenter

    You've probably had an answer from the school by now but my thoughts are that if the meeting is just that, a talk to parents, there would be no issue with moving the venue. But if it is a look around the classroom to see all the lovely things the children have been doing and a chance for parents to explore the resources, then it wouldn't really be possible. I speak as a retired reception teacher by the way.
     
  6. hs9981

    hs9981 Lead commenter

    Why not have your husband give you a piggy back up the stairs, or hop up?
     
  7. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Because he has a slipped disc.
    But seriously???
     
  8. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Obviously not. But I have now been told that the said meeting has been cancelled and they have made helpful noises about future meetings, althoughI hope to be more mobile in a couple of months’ time.
     
  9. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    And I suggest that you give it a go at hopping up or down just one stair, let alone an entire flight! Come back to this thread when you’ve done it. Make sure that you have included a clip of yourself doing it too!
     
  10. hs9981

    hs9981 Lead commenter

    This is very common in Korea. They say X event is cancelled to 'save face' and then hold it anyway without Y person being informed.
     
  11. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    It is likely that a number of parents of children in reception will have younger children in pushchairs, and getting them upstairs would also be tricky. Moving the meeting to a ground floor room would seem like a sensible adjustment for all.
     
    Flanks and bonxie like this.
  12. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    I can see no reason on earth why the meeting could not be moved down stairs to facilitate access for those that need it and would certainly do so my self in my school

    I feel obliged to add that as someone who has ruptured his Achilles in the past I can also see no reason why you can't get upstairs either. I had to attend phyiso' to strengthen mine a little while after the rupture and know that none of us in the group with similar injuries ceased to use stairs each night to go to bed for example. If you are genuinely having such mobility issues I would respectfully suggest you contact your Dr for greater support.
     
  13. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I don't see the problem with bottom shuffling up the stairs, i had to do it when my daughter started school when I had a leg in a cast, her classroom was upstaris, so if we had met downstairs I, ( and other parents) wouldn't have seen the classroom.

    wear trousers....
     
  14. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    The problem is that it is not dignified. If you don’t mind doing it, then good for you.
     
  15. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Yes, I can get myself upstairs by bottom shuffling. But Sureky you know @R13,that anyone with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon has their ankle set in paster their foot pointing down and does not receive physiotherapy until th cast is removed (usually six to eight weeks)?

    Going up the stairs in the privacy of your own home is quite different from getting upstairs in a public building. Now please stop diverting this thread.
     
  16. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    Apologies - I felt able to manage stairs perfectly well with my ankle in plaster with the foot pointing down. Perhaps I am being unreasonable towards you - the point for me is that really this should not be an issue - the meeting could be downstairs and I previously thought you could have made it upstairs and so was wondering whether there was another issue really behind the difficulties.
     

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