All organisations and businesses need to make every reasonable adjustment to comply with the Equalities Act. For schools, because of budget constraints, this can be something of a challenge but it’s also a goal that all heads and governors want to achieve as quickly as possible.
Of course, equality goes way beyond treating people the same and having processes in place to ensure that individuals aren’t discriminated against. Refurbishments within a school can make a huge difference to access. For instance, installing a lift will give disabled individuals entry to upper floors and classrooms, making hallways wider can make it easier for people in wheelchairs to get about, as can putting in disabled access ramps.
In many areas of life, disabled individuals are still being unfairly disadvantaged because organisations such as schools are not carrying out the necessary changes to their infrastructure that make getting around easier. As with any organisation, schools need to make all reasonable adjustments to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Equalities Act. That includes ensuring that classrooms are set out to promote inclusivity.
Working with Hightown Group
The Hightown Group is a family run construction business that has over 40 years’ experience of dealing with a range of refurbishments across a large variety of sectors. We’ve worked closely with educational institutions including universities and schools where inclusivity is a primary factor in both new builds and refurbishments.
A large part of our success over the years has been due to working collaboratively with our clients to deliver on their expectations. That involves being open and honest about how we supply our services as well as getting to know stakeholders and what their requirements are.
Creating a more inclusive environment is something that many sectors are thinking about nowadays and making your school more accessible can involve hundreds of different decisions. The good news is that Hightown can work with you from the initial design phase right through to full completion. We understand that not all solutions can be implemented immediately and that you may need to work through a strategy of gradual change.
Most schools will need to keep operating while any refurbishment is being undertaken, of course. We have a good deal of experience working with organisations such as schools so that disruption is kept down to a minimum, whether we’re installing a new lift or creating more space to improve access. All our teams are well trained in areas such as health and safety which means that you can be sure all staff and pupils will be able to go about their daily work without any issues.
Another part of our business model is a focus on sustainability, something that many schools share nowadays. That means we source materials from ethical suppliers and we deal with waste in a responsible manner, recycling and repurposing whenever possible.
There are many aspects to consider when looking at creating inclusive spaces, particularly for schools where refurbishment may well be an ongoing process. Many schools are also constrained by their development budgets and finding cost effective solutions are key – it’s something that Hightown can certainly advise on, helping you achieve inclusivity while staying within your budgetary means.
If you would like to discuss how Hightown can help your school carry out refurbishments that meet the current Equalities Act, contact our friendly team today.