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School adaptations

  • Child development and growing up
  • Staying safe and accident prevention

All schools are required to make reasonable adjustments to support a child, but the school adaptions team can help with specialist adaptions. We also offer manual handling training to mainstream schools.

Adaptations in schools

If your child requires specific facilities or support within the school environment this may be detailed in their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or you can discuss this with the school's Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and your occupational therapist.

A school is required to make reasonable adjustments however, if specialist adaptions are required to the buildings your child will be referred to the school adaptions team.

Manual handling at home

This video has been provide by the children's physiotherapy team.

As a parent of a child with additional needs, who needs help with moving, you are at greater risk to injure yourself.

Even if you feel you can still easily lift your child, the high repetition and sometimes lifting in and out of small spaces could lead to injury.

My base of support is where my body is supported. If i am sitting on a chair, the support is from my contact with the seat as well as my feet placed on the ground. When sitting think about a rectangle that can drawn around my feet.

In standing, your base of support is smaller and unsteady. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and with your knees slightly flexed is more stable.

When moving or supporting your child your centre of gravity changes if your a woman or slightly higher for a man. Using a disc on a string round my neck to represent my centre of gravity. 

If i lean forward, it will move away from my body. If I move in another direction the disc will move, this can make you unsteady. Try to keep your centre of gravity above your feet.

To demonstrate this try to stand from a chair normally and observe what the disc does. You automatically lean forwards to place your centre of gravity over your feet. 

When lifting your child, keep your arms short and bring your elbows close your body.

Children who require full assistance. Approach from behind. Stay close, place your hands on your child's hips. Slide your child on to your thighs, lift one leg through with your child sitting on your thigh and then stand up.

Notice how my centre of gravity is within my base of support.

Hold your child in close, using your palm of your hand. This is a comfortable grip.

Remember that protecting your back is not only important for you, but is also allowing you to look after your child.

Imagine the situation where you would have a back injury and unable to care for your child.

To recap, remember the three key principles.

One, have a stable base of support.

Two, keep your centre of gravity within your base of support.

Three, keep your child in close.

If you are currently lifting your child and are finding thins difficult, contact your community occupational therapist. They will be able to offer advice, or provide equipment to assist. 

Manual handling at school

Special school

If a child requires assistance to move, the staff working with them will require training to ensure they have the skills knowledge and confidence to safely look after the child. The special needs schools organise this training independently.

When assisting a child to move, staff may require specific equipment that will be assessed by your occupational therapist or physiotherapist and issued through the school.

Mainstream school

Staff require annual training. The school is responsible for arranging this training. 

Getting trained

Mainstream schools should visit our dedicated back training page  for more information or to book a place on a course.

In addition to this course, child specific support can be offered in the setting when it is needed.

When assisting a child to move staff may require specific equipment that will be assessed by your occupational therapist or physiotherapist and issued through the school or SEND team.

If a child who has an Education Health Care Plan attends a breakfast club, after school club or holiday club funded by the Cambridgeshire County Council, staff can access the annual mandatory training as specified above. Child specific support is provided by the community occupational therapist or physiotherapist.


Last reviewed: 19 January, 2024

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