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New DDA Guide for Educators


A new guide from the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) aims to help educators ensure that the legal rights of disabled learners are exercised safely, without health and safety concerns getting in the way.

The guide, I don’t want to sue anyone … I just want to get a life, looks at new rules under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which mean that educational organisations must remove barriers to learning activities for people with disabilities.

It offers advice on risk assessments and managing risk for disabled students, based on the practical experiences of teachers, tutors and managers who took part in 20 action research projects exploring issues concerned with the implementation of the DDA.

Under the DDA, education providers must make “reasonable adjustments” and avoid treating disabled people less favourably than others. But the LSDA warns that achieving this without breaching health and safety regulations needs careful consideration. The guide stresses the need for a flexible, common sense approach.

The guide sets out five steps to successful risk assessment:

1. Identify the hazards: It is not essential to assess everything that might go wrong, concentrate on hazards that might result in significant harm. It is important to keep an open mind and avoid making stereotypical assumptions about the health and safety implications of an impairment. The risk assessment should also be specific to the person’s needs.

2. Examine who is at risk and how the harm might arise: Look at the existing actions already in place and identifying what more can be done to eliminate or reduce risk to a suitable level. It is important to make sure that disabled learners are fully involved in their own risk assessment.

3. Evaluate how likely it is that each hazard will cause harm: The risk should be assessed as high, medium or low. The assessment should also take into account any reasonable adjustments that can be put in place. Health and safety law does not require people and organisations to remove all conceivable risks, only to reduce them to an acceptable level.

4. Recording and communication: Organisations must keep records and make sure that that there is a named person who is responsible for carrying out the action. Information from a risk assessment also needs to be shared.

5. Monitor and review: Documentation needs to summarise the outcomes of the risk assessment so that it becomes a dynamic tool for review, rather than a paper exercise. It is vital to check that actions have been fully implemented.

* I don’t want to sue anyone … I just want to get a life inclusive risk assessment guidance for colleges and other post-16 education providers on implementing the Disability Discrimination Act is available to download at or email
[email protected].


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