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Schools get a guide to new disability equality legislation

The Disability Rights Commission has issued new guidance today (Friday) to help education authorities meet new legal duties to promote equality of opportunity for disabled pupils.

From December, all public authorities will have to develop policies, procedures and services that not only combat discrimination but actively promote disability equality.

The guidance aims to help authorities and grant-aided schools get started in drawing up the disability equality schemes that are a statutory requirement. The schemes must be published by December 4.

It highlights the importance of involving disabled people in developing the schemes, a key requirement of the duties, and gives examples of the kind of actions that will contribute to disability equality.

Lynn Welsh, the commission's head of Scottish legal affairs, said: "From lessons and teaching through to recruitment of staff and provision of services to the wider community, education providers will have to show how they are actively promoting equality for disabled people."

She continued: "Staff will need training on the new responsibilities, and disabled children, young people and adults must be in-volved in developing the schemes."

The commission is holding a conference on the changes on Wednesday, September 13, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow.

The commission's guidance, "Schools education and the Disability Equality Duty", is available on www.dotheduty.org. Guidance for the post-16 education sector will also be available soon.

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