§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, further to the Government's welcome for the charter for the 1980s for disabled people world-wide, what steps are being taken to ensure that all new schools, both in the public and private sectors, are fully accessible to disabled people; if he is satisfied with present arrangements for providing such access; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Boyson
Providers of school buildings are required by section 8(1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to make provision in the means of access both to and within the building, and in certain other specified respects, for the needs of disabled users of the building, in so far as it is in the circumstances both practicable and reasonable to do so. Guidance suggesting ways in which designers of schools might meet these requirements was published by the Department in 1979 in design note 18—"Access for the Physically Disabled to Educational Buildings". My right hon. Friend is satisfied that provision is being widely made to allow access for disabled users in new maintained school building projects in England. He has no powers in relation to detailed matters concerning the premises of independent schools. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment hopes to make an announcement soon about the implementation of section 6 of the Disabled Persons Act 1981 which strengthens the above requirements of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.