Playgrounds: Disability

Department for Education written question – answered on 10 November 2022.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Independent, Tamworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of access to school play areas for children with disabilities; and what plans she has to improve access for disabled children.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department does not collect information on the adequacy of access to school play areas for children with disabilities. The department publishes area guidelines for schools in Building Bulletin 103: Area Guidelines for Mainstream Schools, and specific guidance for special educational needs and disability (SEND) schools and alternative provision (AP) sites in Building Bulletin 104: Area Guidelines for SEND and alternative provision, which can be found here: and here:

These documents include guidance and expectations around size, type, and design of outdoor PE space, informal and social areas, and the use of habitat areas.

Schools must also comply with their duties under the Equality Act 2010, including making reasonable adjustments and carrying out accessibility planning for disabled pupils. Schools must prepare and implement accessibility plans which should include plans for improving the physical environment of schools to enable disabled pupils to take better advantage of education, benefits, facilities and services provided. Ofsted may review a school’s accessibility plan as part of school inspections.

In March 2022 the department announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations amounting to over £1.4 billion of new investment. This funding is to support local authorities to deliver new places for academic years 2023/24 and 2024/25, and improve the suitability and accessibility of existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require AP. It is ultimately up to local authorities to determine how to best prioritise their funding to address their local priorities, including improving the accessibility of school play areas, and they can work with any school in their local area to do so.

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