Introducing equity into our classrooms can make these classrooms more inclusive and accessible for all. This is the importance of equity and why understanding equality is so important in schools.
We often talk about what is fair, but is fair equal?
Equality Versus Equity
Understanding the importance of equity comes from the difference between equality and equity.
Equality is giving a person or a group of people the same resources or opportunities.
Equity is recognising that an individual person has different circumstances and then provides the exact resources and opportunities to reach an equal outcome.
Let’s think about that for a moment …
Reasonable adjustments are a human right and are often very easy to accommodate. There is already a reasonable adjustments duty for schools and education, which includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing. You can read this following the link below.
Other Senses Requiring Reasonable Adjustments in Schools
Of course, we know that there are pupils who need to wear glasses or hearing aids due to sensory impairments affecting sight or hearing.
What about our other senses?
Lots of children suffer from sensory impairments such as not being able to wear certain parts of a school uniform. Or not being able to eat certain foods that may be part of the school healthy eating rules. There are many simple and easy reasonable adjustments that can be made here.
The reasonable adjustments duty is triggered only where there is a need to avoid ‘substantial disadvantage’. ‘Substantial’ is defined as being anything more than minor or trivial. Whether a disabled pupil is at a substantial disadvantage or not will depend on the individual situation.
Anything more than minor or trivial is what our kids with sensory difficulties are experiencing.
What if You Don’t Have a Disability as Defined in the Equality Act 2010?
The problem comes when you aren’t classed as having a disability as defined in the Equality Act 2010 or an EHCP (Education Health Care Plan).
Let’s go back to a child wearing glasses in school
Are they defined as having a disability? Well, unless they are registered blind or visually impaired probably not. But would a school stop them from wearing their glasses because of this?
But lots of schools insist that things like ear defenders, fidget toys, chew products and so many more sensory aids aren’t allowed unless they are written into an IEP or EHCP.
There are lots of understanding and proactive teachers out there. They have probably realised that by allowing reasonable adjustments in the classroom these children are not only included but are also more likely to achieve their goals. On top of that by putting these reasonable adjustments in place proactively some children may never need an EHCP.
Understanding Equity In Schools is really important
What Can I Do Next?
If your child has sensory difficulties and struggles in school because of this approach the class teacher. Don’t catch them at the beginning or the end of the day as they will be busy and won’t have the time to consider what you are saying. In the morning and afternoon, they are trying to organise 30 children – this can be tough! Remember teachers are only human..
Steps to take:
- Make an appointment to see them so that you can discuss this properly and give the teacher time to take everything on board.
- Take notes to the meeting with examples of your child’s difficulties and examples of how and when sensory aids have helped.
- Ask for a trial period with a follow-up meeting to discuss how it has gone.
- Share this blog with teachers and schools and direct them to our website
- Join our Sensory Support Group for a rant and more help and advice.
Reasonable adjustments are a human right and are often very easy to accommodate. Sometimes teachers don’t understand or see this. They have a busy and stressful job and often don’t realise how much difference such a small adjustment can make. As a parent, it often comes down to you to fight for what your kids need to succeed. You know your kids better than anyone. Good luck and we hope this blog is helpful. Remember we are always here for help and support with the senses.
Introducing equity into our classrooms can make schools more inclusive and accessible for all. This is the importance of equity and why understanding equality is so important in schools.