LIVERPOOL CHILDREN’S SERVICES ACCESSIBILITY STRATEGY
This Strategy replaces a number of previous policies: SEN Policy, SEN Strategic
Statement and Strategy.
1. Background and Legal Position
1.1 Definition of special educational needs. The Education Act 1996
states that a child has special educational needs if he/she has a
learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be
made for him/her. That is, provision which is additional to or
different from that normally made for children of the same age (if
under age two, any provision).
1.2 Definition of disability. The SEN and Disability Act 2001 uses the
definition of disability as set out in the Disability Discrimination Act
1995. A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental
impairment that has substantial and long term adverse effects on
his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities. A
disabled child may or may not have special educational needs.
1.3 The 1995 Disability Discrimination Act covers employment rights
and non-educational services to the public. Educational provision
was at the time only affected in the management of fund raising
events, hiring of school accommodation and access to leisure time
1.4 The Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA)
introduced new duties on LEAs and schools. The planning duty
came into force in September 2002 and for written documentation
April 2003. The LEA must produce an accessibility strategy and
schools must produce accessibility plans. The LEA circulated an
advice document to schools in relation to this duty
1.5 The Act provides for OFSTED inspections of LEAs and schools to
cover the discharge of their responsibilities to prepare, revise,
review and implement their strategy and plans respectively.
OFSTED and the Joint Area Reviews will be monitoring this duty
through their inspections. The Secretary of State can intervene if
an LEA or school is not complying with the duty.
1.6 The main duty within law is a requirement not to treat disabled
pupils less favourably on grounds of disability and to take
reasonable steps (reasonable adjustment) to avoid putting
pupils with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage.
1.7 Enshrined in the duty is an acceptance that progress will be
incremental, and an expectation that organisations will be
anticipatory. The plans therefore must show incremental steps
towards an increasingly inclusive provision that anticipates future
needs of disabled pupils for whom provision must be made. Plans
should cover a three year period.
1.8 Liverpool’s strategy also takes account of the Children Act 2004;
each element of this strategy may be cross referenced to the five
1.9 The Social Model of Disability says that disability is the loss or
limitation of opportunity for people with impairments or long term
medical conditions to take a full part in the life of the community on
an equal level with others due to physical, organisational and
2 Liverpool Children’s Services Strategic Aims
2.1 In December 2002 Liverpool LEA reviewed and restated its
strategic aims. These are broadly summarised in three clear
strands - Attainment, Inclusion and Regeneration, (AIR). These
aims are complementary and inter-linked. This document is set
within this broader context.
2.3 Liverpool City Council has a policy of developing inclusive
provision and will comply with the SENDA largely through this
Accessibility Strategy and the SEN Strategy: Policy into Practice.
2.4 Definition of inclusion. For Liverpool inclusion in the context of
education is concerned with the presence, participation and
achievement of all children and young people where:
Presence concerns where children are educated, and how reliably
and punctually they attend.
Participation related to the quality of their educational experiences
and the services received by their parents and carers. And,
Achievement concerns the outcomes of learning across the
curriculum, both inside and outside the classroom.
The promotion of inclusive practice should be our aspiration for all
students. However, it is also assumed that a particular emphasis is
placed on those groups of learners who are at risk of
marginalisation, exclusion or underachievement. This, of course,
includes children with disabilities and/or special educational needs,
but it also includes sick children, truants, pupils at risk of exclusion,
drug abusers, pregnant schoolgirls, the children of asylum seekers,
pupils for whom English is an additional language, and so on.
2.4 The Liverpool Children’s Interagency Disability Strategy
defines inclusion beyond the responsibility to educate as:
The intentional building of relationships, understanding and
acceptance within the individual’s own, and typically for children,
An acceptance that every child has a fundamental right to belong
to their local community , school and receive services, irrespective
of their disability or learning difficulty but with a level of support
appropriate to their needs
Schools and communities striving to become more inclusive by
welcoming children with an increasingly diverse range of needs in a
supportive and safe environment
An ongoing process of remodelling the community, not just for the
benefit of the disabled child but for the benefit of every individual
Inclusive Provision is open and accessible to all, and takes
positive action in removing disabling barriers, so that disabled and
non-disabled people can participate
2.5 Liverpool is a large Authority with over 200 schools. The Authority
accepts that initially there will be a range of understanding of and
approaches to inclusion. However the Authority strives to foster its
belief that inclusion offers the best possible environment for all
pupils regardless of disability within the concept of social
cohesiveness and a socially fair ethos which engenders equality of
2.6 Liverpool has recognised that for a small minority of pupils with
disabilities the mainstream education environment is not, currently,
suitable and may not provide the best opportunity for these pupils to
achieve their potential. Separate provision will be made for such
pupils in maintained and non maintained special schools or in
resourced mainstream schools.
2.7 The inclusion policy and strategies are equally relevant to other
groups of pupils who may not necessarily have a special need or
disability. These include ethnic minority pupils, pupils who do not
speak English as a first language, children in public care, traveller
children and children who are within families seeking asylum who
are accommodated in Liverpool etc.
3. SEN and Disability Strategy: Policy into Practice (Education)
3.1 This document outlines how the Authority will fulfil duties related to
the Code of Practice 2001, the Education Act (1996), the Children
Act (1989) the SEN and Disability Act (2001) and the Children Act
(2004). It summarises how we will implement the Council's strategy
and policy related to SEN, disability and inclusion. It specifies a
range of different types of provision for meeting the special needs
of pupils and sets out the LEA policy and direction in relation to
each. In effect these are progressive strategies towards inclusion.
3.2 The Authority is employing a dual approach which simultaneously
provides increasing resources and expertise in mainstream schools
in order that their ability to ‘cater’ or ‘reasonably adjust’ for all pupils
within their community is enhanced, whilst special school provision
is gradually contracting as mainstream school capacity increases.
The key challenge for special schools within this approach is to
develop their role as centres of expertise, able to offer advice,
support and outreach services to the mainstream sector. All funds
saved from the reducing number of special school places are
reinvested into the development of outreach support services and
to develop resources in mainstream schools.
3.3 In summary, the Authority will propose to continue to maintain a
number of special schools, develop long term resourced provision
for the most specialised needs (resourced plus), and resourced
provision – some on a long term basis for lifelong disabilities and
some for needs that all schools will eventually be able to meet. This
latter will ensure provision for a transition period of five to ten after
special schools have closed. This represents a continuum of
provision to cover the continuum of need.
3.4 Under these proposals special schools will be retained for severe
learning difficulties (SLD), autism (ASD) and behaviour, emotional
and social difficulties (BESD). Resourced plus provision has been
established for physical difficulties (PD) and SLD (to join existing
provision for speech, language and communication needs (SLCN),
hearing impairment (HI) and visual impairment (VI). Resourced
provision is being established on a permanent basis for ASD,
specific learning difficulties (Spld), speech, language and
communication needs (SLCN), SLD and assessment. Resourced
provision for complex learning difficulties (CLD) will be
redesignated for other types of need as requests for a place outside
a child’s local school diminish.
3.5 Special schools are developing outreach services offering support
to mainstream schools to enable them to develop the knowledge,
skills and confidence to meet a wider range of needs and facilitate
our aim of inclusive schools.
3.6 Central support services will be reviewed in the context of these
developments in provision and the development of Learning
Networks. Services will be coterminous with Learning Networks to
facilitate the development of multi-agency ‘teams’ that more
effectively meet the needs of pupils and schools within each
Network. Central services include the Neighbourhood Early years
Service, specialist teaching services, educational psychology
service, the central admin team, Foundation Stage SEN
consultants, Area SENCos (early years), Inclusion Development
Officers and Network Inclusion Co-ordinators. Services will develop
the Team Around the Child (TAC) model – they will work as part of
a ‘virtual’ multi-agency team in response to the needs of individual
children. They will develop a Person Centred Planning approach to
service delivery that will be driven by individual needs rather than
3.7 Special school outreach and multi-agency support are allocated by
multi-agency Provider Panels. The L.A. co-ordinates Early Years,
primary, Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 multi-agency Provider
Panels. These ensure that pupils at school action plus (as defined
by the SEN Code of Practice) have equal access to additional
resources and that the input available for each pupil is moderated
across the city. The key aim of each panel is to assist schools in
maintaining mainstream education for each pupil referred.
4. Support for Inclusion in schools
4.1 Dyslexia Friendly Schools
The Dyslexia Friendly School Scheme provides an
inclusive solution to the needs of pupils with dyslexia
across the key stages. The scheme involved initial investment
in training for all primary, secondary and special schools
over a three year period. The training aims to equip
teaching and support staff with the necessary skills to
identify and support pupils with dyslexia in the mainstream
classroom. The Authority was the first to achieve Dyslexia Friendly
LEA which means we are able to award schools full Dyslexia
Friendly School status if they meet set criteria. We will work
towards the achievement of Dyslexia Friendly Children’s Services.
4.2 Health and Education joint policy on speech, language and
communication (SLCN) and the Joint Professional Development
Health (speech therapy) and education have developed a joint
policy and strategy on meeting the continuum of speech, language
and communication needs of all Liverpool children. This is
supported by the JPDF which comprises joint training for school
staff and speech therapists across three levels (foundation,
intermediate and advanced) and up to Masters level (accredited by
4.3 Inclusion Charter Mark
This award is based on a self-review tool that covers inclusion in
the widest sense. Following a verification visit based on a range of
interviews, accreditation is awarded at Foundation, Intermediate or
Advanced Level for a period of three years. Schools must
demonstrate progress to retain their current level or progress to a
higher level. This award is a key element in our strategy to develop
inclusive schools and celebrate the achievements of schools in
4.4 High Sights - Inclusion Module and Every Child Matters Module.
These two self-review packages enable a school to examine their
current policy and practice in an Ofsted style format. This enables
them to plan for the development of inclusive provision and practice
and to prepare for inspection.
4.5 Children’s Services are devising shared training and development
activities. A modular approach to developing core, generic and
specialist training across all agencies and stakeholders will be
developed. This will extend beyond Liverpool to our Regional
4.6 In addition to Inclusion Development Officers and Network Inclusion
Co-ordinators, the School Improvement Branch are able to engage
a team of eight Advanced Skills Teachers (inclusion) who are able
to demonstrate and support excellent classroom practice.
5. Capital Programme (schools)
5.1 The Schools Asset Management Plan (AMP) is the main driver for
the programme of capital investment in the city’s school buildings.
In line with legislative requirements such as the SEND Act (2001),
and guidance such as the Merseyside Code of Practice on Access
and Mobility, the AMP has set out the inclusion agenda as an
important strategic priority for the next five years.
5.2 A variety of funding sources have been explored to support
investment in this area, including the traditional routes of targeted
funding bids to the DfES, extension of the City’s Schools PFI
programme, the BSF programme and allocations within the
Service’s own capital resources.
5.3 The strategy has facilitated major works that have established
resourced plus provision at Phoenix, a new build at Springwood
Heath Primary School, and assessment accommodation at two
These will be joined by other projects, as funding opportunities
(whether targeted bids, new PFI schemes, BSF or general Council
resources) will be available each year to support the inclusion
agenda. Projects identified - supported by robust School Access
Plans and a strong rationale for the project being funded achieving
the key aims of Attainment, Inclusion and Regeneration - will be
considered for inclusion in the annual capital programme over the
next five years. We aim to prioritise funding of special provision
within a host mainstream school in order to co-locate special and
mainstream schools and develop inclusive schools and
5.4 More modest improvement works will also be funded through the
Schools Access Initiative Fund: this annual grant allocation from
DfES is specifically targeted to support the implementation of
School Access Plans, making mainstream schools accessible to
disabled pupils. Funding for voluntary aided schools is delegated by
DfES to The Diocese and Archdiocese. As work is identified
through the Access Audit and school access plans, allocations from
this funding will be directed to the most demanding priorities as
determined by the Authority’s strategic access plan (buildings).
6. Links to other plans
This Accessibility Strategy, with its focus on inclusion, is by its very
nature central to a number of other plans and policy statements.
The Local Education Plan (LEP), Behaviour Support Plan and SEN
Strategic Plan will be subsumed into the Children and Young
People’s Plan so that one plan drives the activity of all agencies. A
key aim of all these plans is partnership with all stakeholders,
especially children, young people and their parents/carers. The
document: SEN and Disability Strategy: Policy into Practice 2005
provides the detail related to this strategy document and how it is
proposed to implement it.
7. Harmonisation of Children’s Services
7.1 Within the Children and Young People’s Partnership structure there
is a multi-agency/stakeholder Disability Strategy Group with a remit
to deliver the outcomes set out in the Liverpool Children’s
Interagency Disability Strategy, the Liverpool Children’s Plan and
each of the five outcome areas for young people and their families -
by promoting strategic cohesion and effective partnership working.
Also, to ensure robust monitoring and evaluation that informs
further planning and activity.
7.2 The outcomes identified by the Liverpool Children’s Interagency
Disability Strategy are based on Standard 8 of the National Service
Framework (dept of Health) which articulates service outcomes
coterminous with the five outcomes within Every Child Matters.
7.3 The Liverpool Children’s Interagency Disability Strategy covers
short term breaks, play and leisure provision; Person centred
Planning; the Team Around the Child model of service delivery;
continued development of the Neighbourhood Early Years Service;
Integrated Commissioning Board (for out of city packages of
provision); a collaborative database (within the context of the
Common Assessment Framework); modernisation of children’s
therapy services; the joint strategy for SLCN; workforce
remodelling (including key/link worker role); joint training and
development; Transition Service for disabled young people aged
7.4 There is a joint funded Service Integration Manager to facilitate
change across all agencies and ensure a dedicated role to lead on
the Liverpool Children’s Interagency Disability Strategy.
8. Conclusion – Inclusive Liverpool Schools and Services
8.1 The key feature of the Liverpool Accessibility Strategy is the multi-
agency, stakeholder partnership that is developing joint policy and
strategy. Working to one shared set of documentation at the
strategic and operational level ensures we are all literally ‘on the
same page’ and children and their families/carers will more quickly
experience a joined up service.
8.2 Liverpool will continue to reduce the number of special schools it
maintains as detailed in our ten year forecast. We aim to
permanently retain special schools for autism (ASD); severe
learning difficulties (SLD) and behaviour, social and emotional
difficulties (BESD). We will support and resource all mainstream
schools to become inclusive, whilst maintaining some resourced
mainstream schools that will cater for complex needs.
8.3 We will continue to reduce the number of statements of special
educational need maintained as Provider Panels continue to
manage support to pupils and schools build capacity to meet a
wider range of needs.
Lesley Wright 233 8261 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaye Gee 233 8132 and email@example.com
Val Shanks-Pepper 234 5059
Inclusion Development Officers:
1. Tricia Gillon 233 8157 firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Siobhan Hartnett 233 2445 email@example.com
3. Paul Smith 233 2440 firstname.lastname@example.org