Lord Chris Holmes introduces “Unlocking Opportunities”

Welcome to Unlocking Opportunities. The purpose
of this resource is to enable children at whatever stage they are in the education process
to be able to fulfil their potential and get the best out of their education experience.
Disabled students have the same right to a quality education as everybody else across
the learning environment. I’m Chris Holmes, a member of the board at
the Equality and Human Rights Commission with particular responsibility for disability.
What I really want to make sure is that everybody, regardless of which school, which part of
the country, wherever they are, that they have a positive, fulfilling experience in
school. In the lessons, crucially in all the extra-curricular stuff, not least sport. The Equality Act 2010 introduces a requirement
on schools and local authorities to make reasonable adjustments. From September 2012, there’s
an additional duty to consider auxiliary aids. Auxiliary aids or service may include something
as simple as a small platform for someone of small stature to stand on to enable them
to fully participate in, say, a chemistry lesson. Whether you’re a teacher, part of
the senior leadership team, a coach, classroom assistant, there’s something in this resource
for you. It’s you who will enable each individual student to achieve their potential and, by
doing that, massively narrow that attainment divide which has blighted our country for
so long. We hope you discuss it with your peers, friends,
develop a real environment around it, but, crucially, feel that you’re part of making
a difference to the lives of young disabled people in your schools. Don’t be scared. Embrace
this resource. It’s simply about doing the best by your students. Don’t make assumptions,
no two students are the same. Just have that positive, flexible attitude that you have
to everything else you do in your working life. Remember, the students and their parents
will be the experts in what they need. Talk to them, listen to them, and make it happen
for them.

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