Tribunal finds Reading School discriminated against visually impaired child

Grammar schools in England will have to ensure their entrance exams are accessible to disabled pupils, after a legal ruling found a visually impaired boy suffered discrimination when he was refused the opportunity to take the exam, The Guardian reports.

The boy had applied for entry to Reading School, an academy with grammar school status in Berkshire but he was unable to sit the 11-plus because adjustments needed for him to take the exam, including the use of larger type on the exam questions, were not carried out.

The boy’s case was backed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which said it had been concerned about the accessibility of selective school exams “for a number of years”.

After a referral from the RNIB, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) supported a legal challenge at the government’s tribunal on special educational needs and disabilities. The tribunal ruled that Reading School was responsible for ensuring access to the exam by disabled applicants.

The boy – who cannot be named – subsequently received a place at another grammar school that waived the requirement for him to sit the 11-plus.

Reading School said it is committed to making reasonable adjustments for all candidates relating to our entrance test.

“We, along with the Slough consortium of grammar schools, and other schools within the wider consortium, will be amending our processes in line with the findings of the tribunal.”

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