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UK Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001

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This Act amended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) and made it unlawful for organisations responsible for pre- and post-16 education and other related services to discriminate against disabled students.

The definition of disability is the same as under the DDA:

A person has a disability if they have: 'a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and has lasted or is likely to last 12 months or over.'

Institutions have to make adjustments to physical features that are an obstacle to access (for example, if the only way into a building is via a staircase, this denies access to wheelchair users and an adjustment will have to be made). This is an anticipatory duty so institutions must consider potential barriers and their solutions in advance.

Occasionally there may be a very specific reason for not providing a reasonable adjustment, such as Health & Safety. The reason given may not always be satisfactory and organisations must consider each case carefully.

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