The majority of Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) pupils are educated at mainstream schools. It follows, therefore, that mainstream schools need to be fully Equality Act compliant. And that any designs for new school builds should be fully inclusive in what they propose.
Key suppliers in this field are well aware of the challenges that architects and schools themselves face in ensuring that mainstream schools can accommodate the needs of a wide range of pupils with differing physical requirements.
Paul Green, of St Helens-based Versatile Lift Company explains further, “With disability access, there are case studies that have come to light. They show wheelchair users being excluded from school activities because they can’t physically get to the relevant areas.”
The government’s own guidelines stress the importance of lifts in enabling access for all pupils and vertically integrating the school as a whole. Lift provision can now be flexible and adaptable with the availability of many different kinds of lifts.
“We provide a range of different lifts for different circumstances,” Paul explains. “These might be platform lifts, step lifts or stair lifts. Or indeed, a combination of these depending on the different areas of the building requiring this kind of installation. Where once lifts might have been seen as a luxury for a school, these days they are more likely to an essential part of the building’s infrastructure.”
“In order to be Equality Act compliant, to maintain a worthwhile reputation, and to serve the entire community of pupils and staff under one roof, a school has to have all the right elements in place from the outset, including any assets that contribute meaningfully to access and inclusion”
Paul Green, Versatile Lift Company
“It’s important that a school has the right lifts installed for its students’ particular needs. Our continuing work with architects ensures this,” concludes Paul. “With the kind of maintenance strategy in place, that will ensure a smooth, continuous running of lift facilities – and student and staff mobility – on site.”
When planning a new school build, lift installation is not likely to be an optional extra. It is something that needs to be integral to the school’s design to comply with access and inclusion guidelines. And right for its designated purpose.
Versatile Lift Company have developed a report which provides practical guidance on how the education sector can adapt to the inclusiveness of the Equality Act. You can get your copy by clicking here.
Alternatively, for more information, please call Versatile Lift Company on 0800 028 1972 or visit their website.