Reasonable adjustments

Nurseries, Schools and Colleges must take steps to ensure disabled children and young people are not substantially disadvantaged due to their disability. 'Reasonable adjustments' is the term used to describe these in law. 

If you are not sure if your child is disabled take a look at our Homepage.

Watch our video presentation 'Equal Opportunities for disabled students':


The Equality Act 2010 (part 6 applies to education) contains the 'reasonable adjustments duty.

The SEND Code of Practice summarises the Equality Act duty and says Nurseries, Schools and Colleges must:

  • not directly or indirectly discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled children and young people
  • make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that disabled children and young people are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers. This duty is anticipatory – it requires thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage (Introduction xix)


Nurseries, Schools and Colleges should be thinking in advance, and reviewing what adjustments they may need to make to avoid substantial disadvantage for disabled children.

  • All aspects are covered, including homework, school trips, provision of education and around exclusions.
  • They must make reasonable adjustments to procedures, criteria and practices and by the provision of auxiliary aids and services.
  • Nurseries and post-16 providers must also make reasonable adjustments by making physical alterations.
  • Schools and the local authority are not required to make physical alterations, but they must publish accessibility plans (and local authorities, accessibility strategies) setting out how they plan to increase access for disabled pupils to the curriculum, the physical environment and to information.

The Equality and Human Rights commission have some useful guidance about making 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled pupils.


For school age children, take a look at the accessibility plan on the School's own website, which will include information about how the school plans to improve access for disabled children.

View also the school's SEN Information report, to see how the school support and include children with SEN

Talk to the educational setting to explain your concerns and how you feel your child is being disadvantaged.

Share any suggestions you have for how your child could be supported with adjustments.

If you still have some concerns you could raise these with the Head Teacher, or make a formal complaint to the school and Governing body. The schools own website will have information about their complaints procedure.

If you feel your disabled child has been discriminated against you could consider complaining to the SEND Tribunal.