Understanding the risks

How does risk assessment apply?

Assessing the risks when teaching students with disability or SEN/ASN is about identifying the action necessary to manage the risks to staff, students and others – most schools assess the health and safety risks at the same time as agreeing student educational needs and plans.  Most disabled students or students with SEN/ASN will not need additional health and safety considerations.

Where an individual's disability or SEN/ASN creates specific health and safety risk(s) to employees and/or disabled students, these should be treated on an individual case-by-case basis.  They should not result in blanket policies that place restrictions on all disabled students, or automatically assume that disabled students are a greater risk.  Where additional health and safety considerations are essential, these should not place unreasonable restrictions on the student's rights.  The anticipatory nature of the reasonable adjustment duty in the Equality Act should mean that certain adjustments should already be in place or available.

Key health and safety risk factors

Typical activities to consider:

  • moving and handling of students with physical disabilities
  • working with students unable to recognise everyday hazards, communicate distress, or move around independently
  • use of mechanical aids and equipment
  • using therapy and ball pools
  • administering medical treatment
  • minimising the risk of infection
  • management of difficult behaviour and the use of restraint eg students who potentially are a danger to themselves, other students and employees
  • lone working
  • transport issues
  • access to social activities.

Find out more

Further guidance on risk assessment and the necessary steps to take.

Example risk assessments

Example risk assessments provide indicative guidance on assessing activities involving pupils with SEN/ASN.

Case Studies

Example case studies are provided to illustrate considerations to be taken into account when completing assessments involving students with SEN/ASN.


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Updated 2023-08-16