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Disabled Persons

Volume 886: debated on Friday 21 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what powers he has to ensure that every local education authority, when planning the provision of new schools or colleges, complies with the requirements of Section 8 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to provide for the needs of persons using the buildings who are disabled;(2) if he is satisfied that local education authorities, when planning new schools and colleges, are making sufficient provision for the needs of disabled people as required by Section 8 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970; and if he will make a statement;(3) if, when proposals for new schools or colleges are submitted to his Department by local education authorities which do not make provision for the needs of disabled people, he requires the authority to state the reason why, in the circumstances, it was not practicable and reasonable to do so; and if he will make a statement.

The use of an educational building by the disabled will vary according to its function, location, and the extent to which it is likely to be used by the community. Under the terms of Section 8 of the Act it is for local education authorities to decide what provision it is practicable and reasonable to make. Guidance on the subject has been given in the Department's Circular 13/70, and authorities are reminded of it, where necessary, when plans for new buildings are under discussion. I am satisfied that local education authorities have a proper regard to their responsibilities in this matter, and consider that the powers and influence exercised by the Department are adequate.