AAA Roles

Educators and Teachers

As an educator or teacher there are many steps that you can take towards improving the accessibility of your courses. The main steps to doing this are:

Identifying students who could potentially benefit from assistive technology

One of the most important roles of teachers and people who are closely involved with the students is to be able to spot when a student may be struggling with an accessibility need that has not been identified.

It can be extremely challenging for a student to encounter difficulties which they do not know the name for, how to address or if it is considered a "real" condition, as is the case with a lot of learning difficulties, hidden disabilities and mental health conditions.

Teachers are able to interact more closely with individual students who do not have an identified disability than SEN-coordinators will be able to in most scenarios, and this is what gives them a unique perspective as to how the student is doing. To give an example, a student facing handwriting difficulties is quite likely to know that they are unable to write at a high speed, however may not know the solutions to this, and will simply place the blame on themselves, despite the fact that there is support available for students to get help with this, and solutions, such as laptop usage. Being able to identify an accessibility-related need early on is key to allowing a student with a disability or additional needs to meet their full potential, and can make a large impact on their lives.
We have resources on our main landing page and throughout this site on this topic.

IT Administrators

As a member of the IT department, your department should consider what you can do to support these 3 main goals regarding accessibility:

Assistive technology on school systems

Working with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or other disability support advisors you can help support the availability of useful assistive technology options.

  1. Assess the needs of students: It's important to first identify the needs of students who require assistive technology. This could include students with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, or learning difficulties.
  2. Research assistive technology options: There are a variety of assistive technology options available, such as text-to-speech software, screen readers, speech recognition software, and alternative keyboards. Research the options available and select the most appropriate ones for the students' needs.
  3. Install and configure the software: Once the appropriate assistive technology has been selected, it's important to ensure that it's installed and configured properly on all school systems. This may involve installing software on individual devices or configuring the school's network to allow access to cloud-based solutions.
  4. Provide training: Ensure that teachers and support staff are trained on how to use the assistive technology effectively so they can help students who require it. Additionally, ensure that students are provided with training on how to use the software as well.

Configuring assistive technology for within lessons

  1. Meet with teachers: It's important to meet with teachers to understand how they use technology within their lessons and identify any specific requirements for assistive technology. For example, a student with a visual impairment may require a screen reader to access digital textbooks.
  2. Configure laptops and devices: Once requirements have been identified, configure laptops and other devices with the necessary assistive technology software and settings to ensure it's readily available within the classroom.

Configuring assistive technology for examinations

  1. Follow JCQ ICE guidelines: Ensure that all examination computers or user accounts are setup in accordance with the JCQ ICE guidelines. This includes ensuring that assistive technology is properly configured and that the necessary software is installed.
  2. Test equipment prior to exams: It's important to test all equipment prior to exams to ensure that it's working properly and that students who require assistive technology are able to access it.
  3. Provide support during exams: During exams, support staff should be on call to assist students who require assistive technology. This may involve providing training on how to use the software or troubleshooting any technical issues that arise.

Web Developers

The following list covers guides on how to make common aspects of website more accessible:

Skip links, and other components for people with disabilities:

Testing and meeting web content accessibility guidelines:

SEN Coordinator

As the head of accessibility / special needs coordinator for your organisation, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your organisation is more accessible to everyone. This includes:

School Administrator

As a school administrator, you will tend to have a significant amount of access to data and regular contact with other members of senior leadership. This gives you a unique perspective on the impacts of accessibility within your organisation. Following this advice should help improve accessibility within your organisation:

Following these steps should improve the lives of students with additional needs and disabilities dramatically, and improve the environment overall for students!

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