Parliamentarians call for better access to AT in schools

As part of the APPGAT’s work on SEND education, the group met for a symposium on Assistive Technology in schools. Held in the House of Commons on one of the busiest voting days of this Parliament, the event brought together a diverse group of parliamentarians, experts and practitioners. Lord Low chaired a panel and discussion that covered topics including procurement of Assistive Technology, ensuring access to technology in exams, and embedding the technology in teaching and learning.

The findings from the day have been used to inform an evidence submission to the Education Select Committee Inquiry, and a briefing based on the discussion has been distributed to interested parliamentarians and civil servants. A summary of the event can be downloaded from this page, covering contributions from attendees and speakers including: 

  • Angela Rayner MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Education)
  • Sharon Hodgson MP (Labour)Lord Addington (Liberal Democrat)
  • Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett (Labour) 
  • Dr Abi James (British Dyslexia Association)
  • Patrick McGrath (British Assistive Technology Association)
  • Prof. Sonia Blandford (Achievement for All)

The keynote speaker, Angela Rayner, praised the work of the APPGAT and said championed the value of assistive technology in schools: 

It's so important for everybody, including people that don’t have special educational needs, to understand and celebrate [people's ablites] and break those barriers, and assistive technology will help that. I don’t even think it costs that much: it cost more not to do that.

The event demonstrated the growing profile of assistive technology in parliament, and the issues raised will help inform the APPGAT’s continuing engagement with schools policy to promote the effective use of Assistive Technology.  

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    Angela Rayner MP speaking at event - to her right are panellists, Sharon Hodgson MP, and the Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett
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    event panellists including Sharon Hodgson MP, Lord Addington, Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett, Sonia Blandford and Patrick McGrath