Disability Action Plan

The Disability Action Plan 2022-2027 outlines what we have achieved to date and the practical measures to meet the Disability Duties we will deliver, whilst we work to achieve our strategic priorities in an increasingly challenging environment.


A disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

Under Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA 1995) as amended by Article 5 of the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, the Education Authority is required, when carrying out its functions, to have due regard to the need to:

Promote positive attitudes towards disabled people; and

Encourage participation by disabled people in public life (“the disability duties”).

Under Section 49B of the DDA 1995, EA is also required to submit to the Equality Commission a Disability Action Plan showing how it proposes to fulfil these duties in relation to its functions.

Equality for persons with a disability (and for persons without) is also enshrined in the statutory equality duties specific to Northern Ireland. As a public authority, EA is also subject to Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Section 75 places a statutory obligation on all designated public authorities to ensure that they carry out their various functions relating to Northern Ireland having due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity across nine social categories, including:

  • persons of different religious belief;
  • political opinion;
  • racial group;
  • age;
  • marital status;
  • sexual orientation;
  • men and women generally;
  • persons with dependants and persons without; and
  • persons with a disability and persons without.


The Chairperson of the EA Board, the Chief Executive and the Corporate Leadership Team are committed to implementing and promoting the disability duties effectively. This revised plan for 2022-2027 reflects our ongoing ambition for EA to remain a safe, welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment for people with disabilities.


We are committed to allocating resources (in terms of time, people and money) to implement this plan and, where appropriate, build disability duties objectives and targets into corporate and annual business plans. We will ensure that our plan is widely communicated and will train our staff and help them understand what they need to do to support people with a disability.


Consultation on revising the Disability Action Plan 2018-2021 was held during 2021 via engagement sessions with internal and external groups, as part of wider review of our Audit of Inequalities, development of our Equality Action Plan 2022-2027 and updating our Equality Scheme. Over a 14 week period we revisited the previous Disability Action Plan and discussed emerging trends, data and actions with stakeholders which included representatives from community and voluntary groups, trade union colleges, staff, including principals and teachers, our Disability Staff Network (EA Link) and the EA Board.

To ensure we remain informed and understand the needs and expectations of people with disabilities, we will continue to engage with people with disabilities and their representative groups. This will be through direct contact with individuals, the EA Link Disability Staff Network and other organisations/fora.


The plan and annual progress reports will be available on our website. In addition to maximising communication of the plan across our social media channels and internal communication outlets, the plan and our commitments will also be referenced at all relevant staff training and awareness events to clearly communicate our responsibilities and the activities in mainstreaming the disability duties.

We will continue to involve and engage with stakeholders to ensure our Disability Action Plan is widely implemented and will ensure access to appropriate information, training and guidance.

Reporting on progress

We will submit a report annually to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, detailing our progress on implementation of this plan. We will also publish this report on our website.

Who to contact

Representatives from the EA Equality & Diversity Team  are responsible for reviewing  and evaluating this Disability Action plan. The person in our organisation who is responsible for making sure that the actions in this plan are taken forward is the Head of Equality and Human Rights. Under the five year life cycle of the plan we will   substantively review it again in four years’ time and update objectives and actions as appropriate.

For further information, please contact: Head of Equality & Human Rights Email: Equality.unit@eani.org.uk

What we do

The EA was established on 1 April 2015 and since then we have been transforming the structures and functions bringing together the five former Education and Library Boards to create a single organisation. We are one the largest educational bodies in the United Kingdom and a major employer in Northern Ireland.

  • EA employ around 44,500 staff
  • We are the funding authority for over 1100 schools
  • We transport over 90,000 children daily
  • More than 300,000 young people take part in our Youth services
  • Around 344,000 pupils are enrolled in schools across Northern Ireland
  • Over 140,000 meals are served in schools everyday

We are responsible for ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education services are available to meet the needs of children and young people. We also ensure the provision of efficient and effective youth services.


Our structure comprises the Chief Executive’s Office along with five directorates.


The Education Directorate is responsible for leading the implementation of key DE strategies and policies across the education system over the short to medium term. These include; School Improvement policy, Learning Leaders Strategy, Sustainable Schools policy, Reducing Educational Disadvantage strategy, A Fair Start, Mainstreaming shared education strategy, Entitlement Framework 14-19 policy,

The Education directorate is also responsible for:

Special Schools and Specialist Provision in Mainstream Schools; School Governance in controlled schools; Shared Education duty and associated programmes; Sectoral Support: Irish Medium, Integrated Education duty and associated programmes Community Planning; Community Use of Schools, C2k Managed Service for Schools, Education Information Solutions (EdIS) Project, Music Service Education Library Service, Eatv, Amma Creative Learning Centre, Magilligan Outdoor Education Centre, as well as oversight of the school based substitution costs.

Human Resources and Corporate Services

The HR & CS Directorate is responsible for HR Policies and Procedures; Employee Health and Wellbeing; Recruitment; Employee Records; Legal Services; Industrial and Employee Relations and HR Advisory Services for Schools. The Directorate also includes the Corporate Services function for the organisation responsible for Equality Monitoring; Equal Opportunities; Equality and Human Rights, Transformation, Continuous Improvement, Corporate Planning and Performance, Information Governance; Corporate Complaints; Corporate Governance and Organisational Development and Learning.

Operations & Estates

The Operations and Estates Directorate is responsible for Capital Development; Estate Services and Maintenance; Energy Management and Efficiency; Health and Safety; Catering Service; Emergency Management and Planning; Free School Meals and Clothing; Transport Service; Schools Admissions; Corporate Planning; Student Finance, Reprographics; and Registry.

Finance & ICT

The Finance and ICT Directorate is responsible for Budgetary Control; Management Accounting; Financial Accounts; Financial Planning; LMS; Payroll and Pensions; Accounts Payable; Accounts Receivable; Cash Management; Income Generation; and ICT.

Children & Young Peoples Services

The Children and Young People’s Services Directorate is responsible for Special Education Operations and Provision; Pupil Support Services; Pupil Welfare Services (including Child Protection); Youth Service and Early Years.

Chief Executives Office

The Chief Executive’s Office is responsible for Strategic Leadership and Operational Delivery; Change Management; Financial Management; Communications and Internal Audit. The Chief Executive is EA’s Accounting Officer.

Who is included in our plan?

Our plan covers the following:

  • People with physical disabilities
  • People with sensory disabilities
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People with mental health disabilities; and
  • People with other hidden disabilities.

It also covers people who are included in more than one of the above areas.

In addition, our plan also seeks to support people with Specific Learning Difficulties where they experience a difference/difficulty with particular aspects of learning, for example people with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADDP, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyscalculia and dysgraphia).

As mentioned in the Introduction above, EA is also subject to other equality legislation that requires us to promote equality of opportunity for people with different backgrounds. In all of our equality-related plans we need to also think about other factors such as caring responsibilities for dependants, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and marital status.

How we developed our plan

Review of our Disability Action Plan falls in line with the five year review cycle of the EA Equality Scheme and both the Equality Action Plan and the Disability Action Plan 2018- 2022.

In implementing the review, the Equality & Diversity Team identified and considered recent research, along with information outlined in previous EA Annual Progress Reports to the Equality Commission. The review of EA’s Audit of Inequalities (a wider piece of research into historical and current inequalities for the nine equality categories) was also key to informing actions for the new disability action plan 2022-2027.

In addition to desktop assessments the plan was also supported by a series of engagement events. We offered to meet individually (or collectively by sector) with all the organisations on our Section 75 contact list and our trade union colleagues. Due to the pandemic a series of engagement sessions were held virtually with internal EA colleagues and external stakeholders from across the community and voluntary sector, representing a range of groups, including children and young people. This was to enable stakeholders to input into the review process and inform our thinking.

EA staff and Board members were engaged in the process through internal structures including:

  • Board members Work Shop
  • Corporate Leadership Team and Directorate Management Teams
  • EA staff networks

A Joint Consultative Forum (JCF) event focused on the Audit of Inequalities including disability equality and inclusion matters was also held to further elicit views from consultees.

The plan is intended to be a ‘living’ document that will evolve and be reviewed in line with our corporate and business planning processes. This linkage to the corporate planning cycle will also ensure that disability equality is incorporated and mainstreamed at a strategic level.

Factors apparent at the time of drafting the previous Disability Action Plan remain pertinent today. It is clear that inequalities exist across the education system that extend beyond the remit of the Education Authority alone and require a wider approach to being tackled.

Our Disability Action Plan reflects the evidence gathered in the audit and also seeks to meet the duties in terms of how we promote positive attitudes towards disabled people and encourage the participation of disabled people in public life. We are dealing with inequalities for disabled people who are in our workforce, inequalities faced by prospective job applicants who are disabled and also the significant inequalities faced by children and young people who are disabled and in education. We will commit to taking action and tackling inequalities, where we can within our remit. Where a wider educational approach is required we engage our partners to undertake actions as part of a wider partnership.

Public life positions

EA does not have direct control over appointments to the EA Board which are made through sector nominations and the public appointments process.

The constitution of the EA Board is set out in the Education Act (NI) 2014. The EA Board comprises a Chairperson appointed by the Minister of Education and 20 members who are nominated by a range of interests. There are 12 members appointed after consultation with bodies representing trustees of maintained schools, transferors of controlled schools, Irish-Medium schools, integrated schools, voluntary grammar and controlled grammar schools and 8 political members who are nominated by the relevant political parties.

For school Board of Governor’s roles, the Department of Education selects governors for the Boards of controlled nursery; grammar and special schools; catholic maintained schools; irish medium schools; other maintained schools; voluntary grammar schools; and grant maintained integrated schools.

EA selects governors for the Boards of Governors of controlled schools; catholic maintained schools; and other maintained schools.

Governors have a wide range of managerial responsibilities and play a central role in the planning, development, monitoring and evaluation of all aspects of school life. We provide information, resources, guidance and support to governors in fulfilling their role. We also provide training on equality, diversity and inclusion issues, including disability awareness.

Despite our lack of direct influence on public life positions, we encourage the involvement of people with disabilities in our internal networks, working groups and focus groups. The range of public life positions for which we can have a degree of impact include partnerships with the voluntary and community sectors who we engage to inform the design and delivery of our services and policy development.

Review of Disability Action Plan 2018-2022 and achievements

Progress measures

We measure our progress on the disability duties by:

  • meeting our statutory reporting requirements on disability
  • analysing our engagement and inclusion data around disability from equality screening activities and feedback
  • building employee equal opportunities data in terms of employees and job applicants with disabilities to better understand our workforce, recruitment and leaver profiles
  • monitoring customer complaints
  • monitoring reported bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation levels towards employees with disabilities in our employee relations cases
  • development of programmes of work relating to disability equality and involving the EA Disability & Carers ‘Link’ Network
  • receiving feedback from our staff networks, union representatives, leaders and colleagues on what we are doing well and what could be improved
  • involving disability advocates and representatives in our policy development and planning.

Achievement highlights from Disability Action Plan 2018-2022

We place great importance on disability equality and we have established a number of key initiatives during the life-cycle of the last plan in fulfilment of the actions and which contribute to the duties in relation to:

  1. Promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people
  2. Encouraging the participation of disabled people in public life
  • At a strategic level, we appointed a Disability Champion at Board Level to actively demonstrate commitment at the highest level.
  • We established the Disability and Carers Staff Network – ‘EA Link’ as a peer support network for EA staff who either have a disability; care for someone with a disability; and have a general interest in being a disability advocate. This has also extended to providing peer support for staff who are carers. The network aims to
  • promote a positive culture around disability and caring across EA and foster growth of the network by attracting new members
  • contribute to the wellbeing of members and provide networking opportunities for members and scope for continual professional and personal development
  • support EA in developing inclusive policies and procedures by acting as a consultative forum
  • provide first hand advice to EA officers on disability and caring related issues
  • communicate the work of the network across EA
  • advise and support EA on implementation and review of the EA Disability Action Plan;
  • The Disability Employment Support Service (DESS) was also set up and resourced within the Equality & Diversity Unit. Broadly, the bespoke service:
  • supports staff in EA Corporate Services and staff in schools who have, or who acquire, a disability;
  • supports the employment of people with disabilities in EA through supporting staff involved in resourcing. The Service also supports the development of placement schemes in relation to employment training and opportunities for people with disabilities
  • builds the capacity of line managers to support their colleagues

The DESS team ensures managers and staff with disabilities feel confident and well- equipped to successfully follow the Reasonable Adjustments Protocol and avail of the benefits of a Reasonable Adjustment Passport. A Policy and Code of Practice on Employment of People with Disabilities and also process guidance for consideration of reasonable adjustments has also been implemented to support the work of DESS.

  • We signed up to and have adopted the principles contained within the Mental Health Charter. In addition to the confidential counselling service we provide through Inspire Wellbeing NI, we facilitated over staff to train as Mental Health First Aiders, to challenge mental health stigma in the workplace and provide frontline support to colleagues in need. Our Health & Wellbeing Team have developed a package of ongoing training and support for staff in maintaining mental health.
  • We continued to promote and celebrate a number of recognised days in relation to disability including support for World Autism Awareness Week; World Downs Syndrome Day; and International Day of People with Disabilities.
  • We facilitated disability related training covering disability legislation and disability awareness and which is an integral part of our equality and diversity awareness training programme. We also signed up for Employers for Disability Northern Ireland (EfDNI) and continue to avail of their advice and guidance on disability related queries and issues for us an employer and for our staff. We also partnered with EfDNI to avail of their staff training modules on autism awareness and support for people with dyslexia.
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability issues were included in the agenda of the Joint Consultative Forum with updates for members from our SEND Implementation Team on the SEND Transformation Programme

Other areas of disability equality of note have been progressed but are not covered in the previous plan actions. These include:

Our Pupil Support Services continue to provide support across EA to schools, parents, children and young people for a range of special educational and medical needs. The Services deliver extensive programmes which assist schools in their responsibilities in supporting these children. They also work collaboratively with relevant Health and Social Care providers. These Services are instrumental in promoting positive attitudes and achieving positive outcomes for children with disabilities through expertise and direct support and making comprehensive resources available to schools, parents and partner agencies.

Our Pupil Support Services are:

  • A dedicated Autism Advisory & Intervention Service
  • Literacy Service – supporting children and young people with Cognition and Learning type difficulties in literacy – specific learning difficulties in literacy/ dyslexia
  • Sensory Service – supporting children and young people who are deaf and/or hard of hearing, vision impaired, or multi-sensory impaired.
  • SEN Early Years Inclusion Service – aims to promote optimum development of pre-school children with SEN through advice and support to children, families and pre-school settings
  • Language & Communication – support pupils with identified language difficulties as a primary area of need
  • SEN Inclusion Service – supports the effective inclusion of children and young people with learning and medical needs
  • Transition – provides resources to help prepare a child or pupil with SEN to go back to school or move to a new school or setting

In compliance with EA’s statutory SEND duties our SEND Implementation Team developed a resource to assist schools and EA services to seek the view of the child and to support them in making decisions about their education. The ‘Voice of the Child’ booklet assists schools and SEN Services to build upon their good practice in order that children and young people with SEND are actively encouraged and facilitated to contribute their thoughts, feelings and actions in a meaningful way. Pupil participation is facilitated using creative and arts based methods; assistive and augmentative communication; electronic communication; and via traditional methods such as interviews, discussions, focus groups, school council etc.

What new evidence have we learned from stakeholders?

We carried out an Audit of Inequalities which included consideration of available evidence and research on the experience of people with disabilities, including children and young people. The emerging and dominant evidence has also been reviewed on the inequalities for people with disabilities arising or further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Educational attainment

Whilst we have made considerable progress on establishing internal structures and processes to support our staff with disabilities it remains that, externally, inequalities in educational attainment for specific groups of children and young people has changed little since the last audit and more work needs to be done at social policy level. Children with a disability, those from minority ethnic backgrounds, including Traveller and Roma children are most prevalent to experience lower levels of attainment. Evidence remains that children and young people entitled to free school meals also experience lower levels of attainment.

Socio economic background, poverty and deprivation play a pivotal role in attainment and we will seek to address what achievement means for our children and young people and how we can support and inspire young people to be the best that they can be.

Bullying – impact on mental health of pupils

The previous Audit of Inequalities identified bullying as an issue that transcends many of the Section 75 groups, with some pupils from particular backgrounds more susceptible to being bullied. Children should feel safe and secure in the school environment and the value of kindness is important to their wellbeing and everyday lives. External research suggests there are higher instances of bullying, or likelihood of bullying for minority ethnic pupils, lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils, pupils with SEN and or a disability and transgender young people.

The pandemic has evidenced a 20% increase on time spent by people, including children and young people, on social media. Online bullying statistics for 2021 in the UK have revealed the widespread nature of the issue and suggest the far-reaching effects on mental health, with nearly one in five children aged 10-15 experiencing online bullying and 77% of those bullied reporting an adverse effect on mental health, high anxiety levels inside and outside of the classroom, and exam stress. Some victims have reported they are frequently hesitant or frightened to attend school. Much work is being done across EA and the wider education sector on bullying with the introduction of the ‘Addressing Bullying in Schools Act 2016’ and Actions can be found in the Equality Action Plan 2022-2027 to support this. Such as the creation of a new EA team to focus on supporting the implementation of the Addressing Bullying in schools Act and to:

  • Embed cultures that eradicate bullying for young people across educational settings;
  • Implement the Addressing Bullying in Schools Act 2016 with success across all schools;
  • Connect with community organisations and partner agencies to eradicate bullying in the community and online for our young people in Northern Ireland;
  • Support national and international events across NI raising the profile of anti-bullying work;
  • Deliver a continuum of support to all schools related to anti-bullying work;

Impact of coronavirus pandemic on people with disabilities

The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has impacted significantly on people with disabilities. The risk of death from Covid-19 is more than three times greater for disabled people and the risk for those with a diagnosed learning disability is 3.7 times greater, compared with people who do not have a learning disability.

Whilst there have been significant implications for all of our staff and for pupils in schools, the effects of the pandemic have been felt acutely by disabled people with reported increased levels of mental ill-health, anxiety, fear regarding contracting the virus, loneliness and isolation. A decline in physical health due to restrictions limited scope for exercise/getting outdoors, accessing food and medications was also reported, along with reduced access to health and social care services.

At the height of restrictions people with disabilities faced disruption additional costs and difficulties accessing home deliveries and increased reliance on others, with many also experiencing a loss of privacy and independence. People with disabilities have also reported implications for digital inclusion, access to work and to support and care at home.

For children with disabilities and their families, there were impacts in relation to access to face-to-face schooling, at times compounded by digital exclusion and/or inaccessible remote learning methods. This presented particular challenges for us as we sought to deliver effective support for children with SEND. School closures meant children with SEND had reduced access to allied health therapies and interventions received during school. The disruption to usual routine also had an impact for many disabled children’s social and emotional development.

From our Audit of Inequalities we also acknowledge the evidence of the gendered impact of the pandemic and the disproportionate impact on women, which is worsened for those from particular backgrounds including women with a disability.

In relation to the pandemic it is recognised that some people who have been infected may experience ‘long COVID’ which has no medical definition. This is not a determining factor for the purposes of defining disability under the DDA (NI) 1995 as there is no requirement for a formal medical diagnosis to identify an impairment. This may have a bearing in the future in relation to members of our staff declaring a disability as a result of having long COVID.


SEND transformation

EA is implementing a wide-ranging SEND transformation programme to improve our service provision and support children with SEND in schools. The cost of providing for children with SEND continues to rise in correlation with the increase in numbers reported of children having SEN (with or without a statement). Pupils with SEN are increasingly being educated in mainstream schools, including Learning Support Centres attached to mainstream schools. In 2019-2020, 70% of pupils with a statement of SEN attended mainstream schools.

The Department of Education Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs anticipated that only about 2% of the school population should require a statement of SEN. However, in 2019-2020, children with a statement of SEN equated to 5.5% of the school population.

The Department’s Education Transformation Programme has been established to deliver a managed and responsive programme of transformation for the benefit of children and young people. As with most initiatives, several projects related to SEN commenced under the Education Transformation Programme were impacted by the pandemic. In EA, we have continued with our strategic SEND transformation programme to address a number of external change recommendations for improvement.

Data on people with disabilities in employment

There is a persistent employment gap between people with and without disabilities. In Northern Ireland people without a disability are more than twice as likely to be in employment (80%) than those with a disability (38%). Around three times the proportion (31%) of disabled people had no qualifications compared to non-disabled persons (10%). Among people with disabilities, people with mental health issues and/or a learning disability are less likely to be employed compared to people with hidden disabilities, progressive or other disabilities, physical disabilities and/or sensory disabilities.

This is echoed by data published by the Office of National Statistics on socioeconomic issues and disability with information provided for the first time specific to autism. Nationally, just half of disabled people are in work, compared to over 80% of non- disabled people. However, the figure is just 22% for autistic adults. In relation to wellbeing, the findings look at how people feel, e.g. happy, anxious or worthwhile and the evidence suggests the anxiety rates for autistic adults are higher than most others.

Focus of future Disability Strategy for Northern Ireland

In line with commitments made under ‘New Decade, New Approach’, the NI Executive agreed to the development of a suite of Social Inclusion Strategies, including one for Disability. Subsequently, the Expert Panel for the Disability Strategy identified priorities and themes for a cross-departmental Disability Strategy and action plan should be developed. The Panel took the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as the primary point of departure as it connects all d/Deaf and disabled people, of all ages, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicities and backgrounds, and was developed by and with deaf and disabled people. The focus of their review was on the General Principles of the CRPD set out in Article 3 of the Convention, as a guide to what should be included in any Disability Strategy.

The Panel’s recommendations and measures are stated as an illustrative approach to the themes and topics which can be addressed in the next Disability Strategy for Northern Ireland. Recommendations and measures across the thematic areas:

  • General measures
  • Autonomy and independent living
  • Equality and non-discrimination
  • Accessibility
  • Intersectionality

The Panel identified four core priorities to be reflected in the final disability strategy:

  • Participation and leadership of d/Deaf and disabled people
  • Economic security of d/Deaf and disabled people
  • Autonomy of d/Deaf and disabled people
  • Resources to achieve the Strategy’s objectives

The Panel also recommend the priorities are supported by up to date, consistent and disaggregated data on d/Deaf and disabled people’s experiences of their rights in Northern Ireland, which is lacking at this point. The Panel also advise that next Disability Strategy must be explicitly rights-based and act as the central tool for implementing the CRPD in Northern Ireland.

What is the focus of our actions in the Disability Action Plan 2022- 2027?

It is important to note that this Plan has been developed in the absence of an agreed three year budget and the delivery of actions will be subject to available funds. The Plan has been designed to be flexible and adaptable, responding to changing policy and financial circumstances.

We are carrying over a number of actions from our Disability Action Plan 2018-2022 that we believe would merit further work. New actions have been informed by our Audit of Inequalities and stakeholder engagement and are aligned to our overall Equality Business Plan.

Actions in relation to the first duty (1) Promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people focus on

  • Ensuring disability inclusion in our publications
  • Support for d/Deaf pupils, parents and stakeholders
  • Active promotion of disability inclusion calendar days to raise awareness amongst staff and the public
  • Supporting the Board Disability Champion to effectively advocate for disability inclusion across EA functions
  • Reviewing our disability awareness training programme and materials and ensuring staff have access and participate
  • Delivering learning initiatives to increase understanding and support for neurodiversity, including autism awareness in the workplace
  • Implementing initiatives and support for mental health and wellbeing, in the context of the impact of the pandemic and the impact on staff and schools
  • Improving quality of our data and information sharing on disability to support better informed decision making

Actions to meet the second duty (2) Encouraging the participation of disabled people in public life are centred on:

  • Introducing employment placement schemes for people with disabilities to come and work in EA
  • Ensuring our website and our information is accessible
  • Reviewing our EA Disability & Carers Link Network to increase visibility and membership and develop a meaningful programme of work
  • Ensuring disability matters including plan actions feature in Joint Consultative Forum business
  • Reviewing Policy and Code of Practice on Employment of People with Disabilities to reflect changes in practice
  • Evaluating the Disability Employment Support Service
  • Reviewing training and practice of making reasonable adjustments for job applicants, in conjunction with Resourcing
  • Encouraging the participation of people with disabilities onto Boards of Governors.

The Disability Action Plan is at Appendix 1.

Appendix 1 Disability Action Plan 2022-2027

Promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people

Action Plan

What we want to achieve (Outcome)

How we are going to do it (action)

How we will prove we have done it (metrics)

Who owns it

By when


Carried over from DAP 2018-2022

We will enhance our organisational culture to become more disability aware

We will have a corporate approach to the use of images including photography in corporate publications, which re-enforces a positive image of people with disabilities accessing our services



Chief Executive

Year 2


Carried over from DAP 2018-2022

Parents of d/Deaf pupils in our schools will have access to a professional, accredited interpreter in a timely manner

We will continue to work with internal and external partners to deliver an excellent EA Sign Language Interpretation Service for d/Deaf parents

Delivery of both a virtual and in person sign language interpretation service

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1-5

New Actions


Disability inclusion will be promoted through support for recognised disability inclusion calendar days

Identify days for support and develop plan for recognition through EA communication channels; along with corresponding timely disability awareness sessions for staff, involving EA Link Network and the community sector where possible

Social Media tracking; staff feedback from ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions; feedback from community sector partners

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1


The Board Disability Champion will be supported to actively promote disability equality at Board level and across the EA

In liaison with the Board Disability Champion we will identify training opportunities to support them in visibly and effectively discharging the role; and also opportunities for the wider Board and senior leadership

Engage the Disability Champion in EA Link Network activities

We will evaluate the training session

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1



Staff will be engaged and awareness will be raised about particular disabilities

We will progress learning initiatives on neurodiversity; including autism awareness in the workplace for staff

We will evaluate training and awareness sessions and liaise with EfDNI in validating our approach

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 2


Staff will have an improved knowledge of disability equality and how it relates to their work

We will review our training programme for EA staff on understanding disability, to include consideration of content of corporate induction, refresher training and methodologies available

We will evaluate training and awareness sessions and liaise with disability partners in validating our approach

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 3


Staff will have an improved knowledge of disability equality and how it relates to their work

We will ensure staff are up to date with required disability related training, including on reasonable adjustments, and report on training undertaken each year.

Training records

Corporate Leadership Team

Year 1-5


EA as a model employer for colleagues with a mental health disability

We will continue to adopt the principles contained within the Mental Health Charter and implement initiatives to support staff wellbeing, particularly in the context of the workplace during and post-pandemic.

Volume and quality of content on the EA Healthwell Hub

Range and number of initiatives held in support of staff wellbeing

Number of staff supported through Occupational Health and Health & Wellbeing teams

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1-5


Better understanding of the disability profile of our workforce

We will ensure the integration of Human Resources systems enables staff to easily and confidentially disclose their disability status.

Increase in number of staff that disclose they have a disability.

Disability Employment Support Service data.

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1-5




Data used to inform equality screening and support decision making/policy setting in HR, Health & Wellbeing and in Operations & Estates




Improved sharing of information and learning between our Directorates

We will explore how to better engage and identify areas of good disability equality practice across EA e.g. work carried out by Pupil Support Services. This is with a view to supporting Disability Employment Support Team knowledge and to assist the Equality Team knowledge when advising on equality screening and leaning-in on wider projects

Equality Unit relationships with Directorates strengthened. Equality Unit team members specifically availing of training/updates from other Services

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services & Director of Children and Young People’s Services

Years 1-5


Increased support for d/Deaf employees and prospective employees and EA customers

We will identify suitable approach to training staff across EA in sign-language and promoting this to encourage members of the d/Deaf community to engage with EA and consider us as a prospective employer.

We will also develop deaf-awareness training for line managers and staff in conjunction with representatives for the d/Deaf community.

We will explore assistive technologies that would enable a person who is d/Deaf in the workplace.

Number of staff trained across locations

Introduction of current assistive software/ technologies

Awareness raising materials on our EA sign video service for customers

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 2-5


Encouraging the participation of disabled people in public life

Action Plan

What we want to achieve (Outcome)

How we are going to do it (action)

How we will prove we have done it (metrics)

Who owns it

By when



Carried over from DAP 2018-2022

People with disabilities supported in obtaining employment in EA

With partners in the Statutory and Community Sectors we will establish a Disability Placement scheme for people with disabilities who have been out of employment

Number of people in placements and placement evaluations through Catalyst Programme

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1


Carried over from DAP 2018-2022

Improved accessibility of our website

We will continue to self-audit our website to ensure it meets the required up to date legal accessibility standards

We will ask for feedback from our website users

We will monitor complaints regarding accessibility

Chief Executive

Year 1

New Actions


Staff engaged in disability inclusion activities

Conduct a review of the EA Disability & Carers Network and develop a communications plan to promote the network to prospective new members.

Led by network members - develop an annual programme of work/awareness raising/outreach/ support initiatives and report to Board

EA Link Network outputs monitored.

Network membership growth.

Feedback from staff

Contacts developed with partner agencies.

Network used as an engagement and consultative forum.

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1-5


Feedback from people with disabilities and

Disability matters including action plan actions will

Joint Consultative Forum

Director of


their representative groups actively sought and acted upon, ensuring greater participation by disabled people in public life

continue to feature as part of the agenda of the Joint Consultative Forum

Agenda and Minutes

Human Resources and Corporate Services


2.3                              EA as a model employer for colleagues with a disability

In conjunction with people with disabilities, representative organisations and trade union colleagues, we will review and update the Policy and Code of Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities to reflect changes in our practice

Policy and Code of Practice updated

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 2


Good practice approach to consideration of reasonable adjustments

We will review and evaluate the Disability Employment Support Service in terms of resources, materials and practices, associated procurement processes and relationship with Access to Work.

Updated Service materials and guidance in place.

Suitable resources in place to ensure support for staff across EA

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 1-2


Good practice in the provision of reasonable adjustments for job applicants

We will review training on considering and making reasonable adjustments for job applicants, with particular focus on providing adjustments for those with Specific Learning Difficulties and those who are neurodiverse

All staff involved in Resourcing decision making engaged and trained on reasonable adjustments.

Director of Human Resources and Corporate Services

Year 2


Disabled people encouraged to consider joining Boards of Governors

We will promote and encourage the participation of people with disabilities onto Board of Governors by linking with the community sector and developing outreach communications materials.

Evidential increase of people with a declared disability on Boards of Governors

Director of Education

Year 3

Last updated: 15/08/2023