Access to Learning Project
Learning and Teaching Resources
compiled by Lotte Hammer
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) was instituted in 2001, this Act was used to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA 1995). However, the main provisions did not come into force until September 2002. SENDA forms Part 4 of the DDA and covers all publicly funded HE and FE institutions and providers of post-16 provision. The Act proposed institutional responsibilities to anticipate the needs of students with disabilities so as not to place them at a substantial disadvantage in accessing educational provision and services provided by educational institutions. It makes discrimination on the grounds of disability unlawful.
The majority of the legislation was implemented in September 2002, further reasonable adjustments were required in respect of the provision of auxiliary aids and services in September 2003 and by September 2005 institutions were required to be compliant in terms of physical adjustments and environment.
The latest piece of legislation, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005), further amends the Act with several additional amendments: most significantly, the definition of disability changed in December 2005 and the Disability Equality Duty (DED) will be introduced in December 2006.
The amended DDA makes explicit required duties and responsibilities but it does not specifically state what constitutes good practice. So that institutions can be confident in their compliance with legal responsibilities, all staff should receive awareness training on the DDA and its practical implications.