Many parents have problems finding the right schools so I know I am not alone. When it came time to locate a suitable school for my son I got my research head on in a bid to find the best one possible. There are so many areas that you need to consider; as a parent you want it to be full of great teachers, friendly children and to be easily accessible. You also want it to be full of the necessary facilities to benefit learning. With my son there was another aspect to consider. He was injured in a car accident a couple of years ago and although he is a lot better, he still has some problems with his movements.
Websites Don’t Give You the Full Picture
We started to visit a few of the websites of some local schools and they seemed nice enough. They had good OFSTED reports and appeared to have a good approach to teaching. We called the heads and booked appointments to go and visit the school; something I advise for all parents. It was on these appointments that we realised there were some serious problems with certain schools that really need to be sorted out.
We took our son with us to the first school and all was going well until we looked around the classrooms. Three of them were located on the second floor and two were in temporary buildings (that had been there for the past twenty years!). My son was struggling with stairs to the second floor and it made me worry that it would be more stressful for him when there were plenty of other children moving up and down the stairways.
Although the second school was better there were still some issues concerning the peg areas and the access to the dining hall. The head did inform us that they were planning to make improvements over the next year but I was still a bit concerned. I kept searching online and I found another school that was further away but it seemed to be really good. We went and checked it out and it was perfect.
Improvements are Being Made
Over the past two years, the school had been improving their building. They seemed to understand my concerns immediately and let me know that their school would be suitable. They had worked with access audit consultants and assured me all of the work that had been done met with the Equality Act 2010. When we visited my son had no problems getting to all the different areas of the schools. The ramps had railings on the sides, there was a flight of stairs but they also had a lift! I couldn’t believe it.
Each of the classrooms seemed to be more spacious than the others we had seen. The table layout allowed for easy access through the walkways. The pegging areas were spacious and all the corridors were clear. I had a great feeling leaving that school that my son would be able to get around with ease and be well taken care of.
Peace of Mind at Last
There are plenty of children out there who need to attend a school that considers their needs. While my son doesn’t have a huge disability it is necessary for me to know he can get around his school without causing him stress or upset. All schools that are planning to improve their buildings now have to take the needs of all children and adults into consideration, which is a wonderful thing. I just wish that the processes could be speeded up so all schools were at the right standards.
I felt wonderful after meeting a head that really had a good understanding of the needs my son had. Never settle for second best, there are some wonderful schools out there with fantastic facilities. You just have to find them.
Schools can use access audits to ensure that the improvements made to the building are in line with the Equality Act 2010.