Surveying the School

Activity 1

The aim of this activity is to look at places and spaces, and survey them to find out how accessible they are for people with disabilities and specific needs.

Start with the school, allow the pupils to survey the classroom and the wider school environment using the PDF checklist on the previous page.

Use the checklist to examine what facilities and features are in place to enable people with certain needs to access the school. For example, do you have ramps around the school? Wide doorways for wheelchairs? Resources in large print? Especially trained staff?

A blue character in a wheelchair holds a checklist with some icons depicting items including disabled parking, wide openings, and ground floor access.

The survey exercise is best done in small groups of 3 or 4 as this allows students to discuss what facilities they see and who might benefit from them. You may choose to allow all the students to survey the same area, or ask different groups to survey different areas of the school. Either way, you will provide the opportunity for comparison and discussion.

For example; one group might find that the school hall is very accessible, with wide doorways and ground floor access but another group might find that the school hall is inaccessible as the echoes might make it difficult for some pupils to hear, the light might be too bright or too low for others.

On comparing different areas of the school, students might find the school hall is ideally placed to allow wheelchair access but the classroom 4 is inaccessible because there is a step going up to it. This can lead to a discussion about who uses which areas in the school and how the school manages the timetabling.

*We recommend undertaking the first survey in school in order to familiarise the students with the process in a familiar environment. However, you may choose to skip this step and go straight to Activity 2 below.

Next steps

Once the students have done their surveys, it is time to discuss the results.

You might choose to have the students feedback to each other in class, with each group describing what they found. Each student could also contribute to an accessibility map of the school:

Print out or draw a floor plan of the school and some icons from the WeCanAccess checklist and stick them to the floorplan. This develops mapping skills and recording information skills, as well as providing a visual representation that may be easier for some students to understand.

The image shows a floorplan and some symbols signifying wheelchair access, wide openings, wheelchair lift, hearing aid loop and quiet space.

Start the conversation

Questions you might want to ask your students once they have surveyed the school:

Which parts of the school are most accessible? Why?

Which parts of the school are least accessible? Why?

What do you think could improve the accessibility of the school?

A blue character is looking at a selection of accessibility icons.
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