§ Margaret Hodge
[holding answer 24 May 2004]: This information is not collected centrally. It is for local education authorities to decide which of the capital projects proposed by their schools should be supported in the light of local needs and circumstances detailed in their Accessibility Strategy.
Local authorities' accessibility strategies and schools plans should cover all three strands of the planning duties they have under part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995: to improve the physical environment of the school; increase the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the school curriculum and improve the delivery of information to disabled pupils. Local authorities have a duty to make their strategies available for inspection to interested parties at reasonable times and maintained schools also have a duty to publish their accessibility plans in their governor's report to parents.
When Ofsted inspects schools, they report on how well they include all pupils within the school and how well they carry out their statutory duties, including accessibility planning under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
§ Margaret Hodge
[holding answer 24 May 2004]: Guidance has been issued to local education authorities to indicate the scope of the capital projects they should support to improve the accessibility of the mainstream schools for disabled pupils. Information on the Schools Access Initiative, including the guidance, is also available on our website www.teachetnet.gov.uk/accessibleschools.1689W
It is for local education authorities to determine how they will allocate the funding made available to them in the light of local needs and circumstances detailed in their Accessibility Strategy and make that information available to the schools they ate responsible for.
As part of the implementation of the SEN Strategy: Removing Barriers to Achievement, the Department is developing a self-review and development tool to help local authorities review their accessibility strategies in partnership with pupils, parents and schools and identify ways of further improving the quality of their planning and significantly increasing access to education for disabled pupils.