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EDITIONS
Sunday, 1 September, 2002, 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK
Support for disabled pupils
woman in wheelchair
New anti-discrimination laws are now in place
Two thirds of people in Britain back the idea of disabled children attending mainstream schools, research suggests.

The NOP survey for the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) found 50% of adults believe teachers should be suitably trained to understand disability.


Education is the key to changing attitudes

Bert Massie, DRC chairman
The poll of 1,923 adults aged 15 or over comes as new anti-discrimination legislation comes into force.

From this month, it will be unlawful for disabled pupils and students in England and Wales to be treated "less favourably" when applying to schools, colleges and universities.

And education providers must make "reasonable adjustments" to make sure these individuals are not disadvantaged.

This may involve improving access to buildings or offering specially printed information for the visually impaired.

Campaign for equality

To mark the dawn of the new legislation, the DRC is launching a special campaign to help those affected.

A confidential helpline will offer information and advice to disabled students, parents, schools and educationalists.

The commission will set up a new education conciliation service, in an attempt to resolve any complaints speedily.

Where discrimination does occur, the commission will support legal cases.

The DRC will also make materials available to schools, colleges, parents, governors and others to raise awareness of the legal duties which come into effect.

Inclusion

DRC chairman, Bert Massie said: "It's heartening that the public believes disabled people should be given the same educational opportunities as others."

"Education is the key to changing attitudes and is fundamental to disabled people being included in the workplace and throughout society," said Mr Massie.

"The DRC's Educating for Equality campaign aims to ensure teachers and lecturers, schools and colleges provide the appropriate support for disabled children and students.

"It is vital that disabled pupils and students get the right start in life. These new rights will give disabled pupils and students the chance of an education free from discrimination," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Moss
"The new law says only that universities and schools have to take reasonable measures to get rid of discrimination"
See also:

28 Aug 02 | Education
06 Dec 00 | Education
06 Nov 00 | Education
03 Dec 01 | Education
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