Clause 13 - Disabled Pupils not to be Substantially Disadvantaged

Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 29th March 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment)

I pause only briefly, as we are making good progress and there is an important debate to come. Will the Minister say what substantial disadvantage is? I suppose that insubstantial disadvantage is not a concept worth considering, except in a philosophical seminar. Does it, in effect, mean that disabled people are not to be disadvantaged at all, for all practical purposes? Alternatively, does it mean something else? Have I missed the point of it?

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) (Employment and Equal Opportunities)

As a quasi-lawyer—or one who is pretending to be so for the afternoon—I must explain that the word ``substantial'' exists under the current DDA framework. Its technical legal definition is that it is more than minor or trivial. It is the trigger that should be used for reasonable adjustments. It is the trigger on employers that also exists under part II of the DAA. It is a relatively lower test than the trigger under part III, and deliberately so. We have been able to put together a good framework on discrimination in education. The test under part III is whether it would become impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access a service. It is a better trigger in educational circumstances.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.