Learning Difficulties & Disabilities Policy/Procedures

Updated Oct 2022 (DM)

Learning Difficulties & Disabilities Policy/Procedures


We are committed to equal opportunities for all and will make any reasonable special arrangements within our capabilities to be able to accommodate and support students who inform us of a disability or a learning difficulty.



Students, parents and ETOs are asked to make us aware of any learning difficulties or disabilities at the application stage, enabling us to make sure that we are able to consider any such requirements and respond accordingly.


The school will assess any declarations of special needs or disability on a case by case basis and if we feel that we do not have the resources or expertise to deal with certain issues, we will inform the student or ETO before proceeding with the enrolment. The school reserves the right to refuse admission if we consider that we cannot adequately cater for a student’s special needs through reasonable adjustment. Unfortunately, due to the structure of the building which houses the school, we are unable to put in lifts to give access to all floors, and most doorways are too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs. However, where possible we will allocate downstairs rooms to classes with students who have mobility issues, and accommodate wheelchair users in classrooms in the Mansel Road Centre, which has accessible rooms and toilets. The only suitable nearby residential accommodation for wheelchair users is in the Justin James Hotel (next to the school).  We can also advise on other schools with good facilities and accommodation for wheelchair users and a school that caters for blind students.


Subsequent identification

If a special need or disability is identified only after a student’s arrival at the school, options for appropriate special provision will be discussed with the student, his/her parents (if possible) and his/her ETO or sponsor. Please note that we do not have the expertise to offer an identifying special needs service. We do have a central document for recording observations made by various departments and staff to enable us to build a clearer picture and have a better understanding before making a decision on what type of support needs to be provided.  

In the event that we are not in a position to deal with the student’s special needs through reasonable adjustment, we will make every effort to find a more appropriate provider in the UK or make the necessary arrangements for the student to return home.



For legal purposes, disability is defined as any physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term (over 12 months) adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.


Compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Wimbledon School of English aims to comply in all respects with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.


Our duties under the DDA 

People with disabilities should not be treated less favourably than non-disabled people for reasons related to their disability without justification.

Reasonable adjustments should be made so that a disabled person is not placed at a substantial disadvantage by comparison with a person without a disability.



All students and staff are asked to disclose disabilities, and the school will do its utmost to respond in a positive and supportive manner to any such disclosure. Disclosed information will be kept strictly confidential and will only be forwarded on a ‘need to know’ basis with the permission of the disabled person.


Anticipatory Adjustments

As the DDA puts the onus on the school to predict adjustments that may be required for future students or applicants, we will take into account disability issues as part of our future planning processes involving work such as building projects or major refurbishment.


Teacher Support/Course Materials

Whenever possible we ensure that teachers provide appropriate levels of extra support for students with learning difficulties or disabilities. The key to this is speaking to the student and finding out exactly what the teacher can do to assist them in the learning process.


When teachers have students with sensory disabilities such as impaired vision or hearing, they also take appropriate practical measures such as enlarging photocopies and writing in larger letters on the whiteboard, or allowing students with hearing problems to sit near any audio source and the teacher.



We aim to ensure by liaising with the relevant exam centres that appropriate arrangements are made for any of our exam candidates with learning difficulties. These may include: allocation of extra time and breaks, provision of examination papers in larger print, or suitable seat planning.


Health and Safety

Health and safety considerations override disability rights considerations and safety could be a justifiable reason for treating a disabled person differently. It is, however, important that a risk assessment be carried out by the Principal (in conjunction with the Health and Safety Officer) so that an objective assessment can be made of the situation. The school recognises that disabled people are entitled to the same level of risk and risk prevention as an able-bodied person, as long as the risks presented to other people are acceptable.


Maintenance of Academic and Professional Standards

All reasonable efforts will be made to provide equivalent academic and professional training to disabled persons. It must be noted, however, that the school cannot compromise academic or professional standards in order to adjust for disabilities.