Disability in Schools

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for a school to discriminate against disabled pupils (including disabilityprospective pupils). This applies to education authority schools, independent schools and grant-aided schools..

Education authorities have a duty to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the substantial disadvantage. to a disabled person caused by a provision, criterion or practice applied or on behalf of the school or by the absence of an auxiliary aid or service. This latter duty has applied from 1 September 2012 . This latter duty has, as of yet, has been untested. Please see the Equality and Human Rights Commission: Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils Guidance

In respect of the removal or alteration of physical features, this is by the  Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils’ Educational Records) (Scotland) Act 2002. This lays out the duties of education authorities in respect of access to the curriculum, access to the physical environment of schools  and improving communication with pupils with disabilities.


In Scotland, legal claims for disability discrimination in schools are brought to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland. The time limit for bringing an action in court is usually six months. Compensation is not available.

Disability Equality Duty

The Disability Equality Duty (DED) requires schools to take a more proactive approach to promoting disability equality and eliminating discrimination.  This can be relied on in court if schools or education authorities having acted without taking the needs of disabled pupils into consideration.

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