Schools protest at cost of inclusion

28th April 2000 at 01:00
MINISTERS have badly underestimated the costs of complying with new anti-discrimination disability legislation, charity-run schools have said.

Rowie Shaw, chief executive of the National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools, said that just installing ramps at listed buildings could cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Yet the Government, in its

consultation document on the new disability rights in education Bill, calculated that the proposed changes would cost independent and non-maintained special schools only pound;400 a year each.

Under the Bill, all schools would be required to plan to icrease inclusion by making the curriculum and buildings more accessible to disabled students. The students would have a right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of their disability.

But Ms Shaw said: "The costs given in relation to our sector are wholly unrealistic especially as our schools are not eligible to receive funding through the schools access initiative (a government fund for adapting mainstream schools).

"Our schools are not run for profit and as fees are paid from the public purse and not by

parents it seems anomalous that our schools do not have

parity with the maintained sector."

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