Supporting pupils with disabilities, special educational needs, and additional support needs


Information on the following topics is provided:

These web pages are aimed at education employers who have disabled students and students with special educational needs (SEN) or additional support needs  (ASN) - ranging from minor impairments through to more severe conditions. Employers may include local authorities, school governing bodies, principals and head teachers.  These pages are also relevant to employees, students, carers, and parents.

The term 'student' includes all learners in early years, primary and secondary education.  The guidance may also be relevant to students in the continuing and further education sector as appropriate. The webpages deal with:

  • Students with a disability with SEN/ASN
  • Students with a disability who do not have SEN/ASN
  • Students who do not have a physical disability, but have SEN/ASN to address behaviour problems

Around 75% of disabled pupils have SEN/ASN - covering a very wide range of impairments.  However, most disabled and most SEN/ASN students will not need any additional health and safety considerations.

The pages concern those students that do.  In particular, they cover the interaction between four overlapping but different aspects – health and safety law, SEN education law, equality law and meeting health and social care needs in an educational setting.

Information is provided to help employers:

  • comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act), and associated regulations (including risk assessment and safe moving and handling), and help in their decision-making, and to
  • understand the links with other legal responsibilities such as the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights legislation.

Employers should not start from the assumption that all students with disabilities present a health and safety risk. A sensible approach to health and safety will help all parties work together to find solutions that enable access to educational opportunities.

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Updated 2023-08-16