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What are my rights in education?

Photo: Your school must make 'reasonable adjustments' to support you with your education

Education providers must not discriminate against you or treat you unfairly because of your deafness or other disability. 

This applies to:

  • admissions
  • education provision
  • access to services or benefits like school trips or careers advice
  • policies and procedures, for example on discipline or exams
  • exclusions.

It doesn’t matter if your school, college or university is publicly or privately funded.  The law applies to local authorities, examining boards, schools, staff and other students. 

This means schools must make 'reasonable adjustments' to support you with your education which could include changing the way the classroom is laid out, using a radio aid or giving you extra time for your exams. 

If you need equipment or support to help you with your education you may be able to get extra help.  At university you might be able to get extra support though Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA). If you are at school or college, you may be able to get some of the extra support paid for through special educational needs or additional educational needs.  See EHCP, SEN and AEN for more information.

What if I think I have been discriminated against?

If you think you have been discriminated against, you should seek advice to find out what your options are.  This will depend on who has discriminated against you and why. 

Examples of discrimination might include:

  • being told you cannot go on a school trip because you won’t be able to hear announcements
  • being excluded due to disruptive behaviour linked to your disability
  • being refused access to communication support in the classroom.

If you are being discriminated against by a school you might be able to take action through a tribunal. This needs to be done within 6 months of the incident. 

You may also be able to take other legal action but you will need legal advice. You can find out more by contacting the Equality Advisory and Support Service or our Helpline.