The audit was carried out by Adrian Cave on Thursday
10th May 2001 on a bright and sunny day. The Nursery
School has children aged from three and a half to four
and a half and at the Primary School they are aged from
four and a half to seven years.
||Approach and entrance
The school is clearly signed at the entrance from the
access road. Public buses stop within about 200 metres
of the main entrance. The main entrance from the road
has a dropped kerb at the corner. The car park, with
an asphalt surface and several potholes, has no designated
accessible parking spaces. The route from the car park
to the main entrance door has no dropped kerbs, therefore
someone in a wheelchair has to negotiate the high kerb
before reaching the footpath to the doorway. The path
has a width of about 1200mm and although this is reduced
to about 850mm by potted plants the path itself is not
a) provide a designated parking space for people with
b) provide dropped kerbs on the route from the car
park to the main entrance doorway
is a dropped kerb at the entrance to the school
and a level route to the main door ...
but no designated parking spaces for people
The front door, which has 800mm clear width, is particularly
difficult to negotiate for people with disabilities,
or with children in pushchairs, and is inconvenient
for many other people. This is because the doorway has
a combination of a step up of 180mm, then a water-bar
at the doorway and then a door mat which is recessed
below floor level and which is a tripping hazard.
Recommendation: provide a ramped
access to the front door and eliminate the tripping
front door step and the raised sill are serious
obstacles for many people, including parents
with children in pushchairs.
The school office door has an opening width of 750mm
clear, with a vision panel from a height of 1320mm which
is covered with a map, but it is understood that this
door is generally kept open. The room has a floor carpet
and acoustic ceiling tiles.
for doors in frequent use consider providing vision
panels from a height of 500mm to enable people in
wheelchairs and small children to see and be seen
WC compartment has a total floor area of 2900 x 3900mm
and contains one WC for men and four for women, with
a lobby. The fittings are white, with cream coloured
walls, timber doors with shiny door furniture and
WC plates with symbols.
Recommendation: consider the
reorganisation of this space in order to provide on
accessible WC (size 2200 x 1500mm) plus separate WCs
for men and women. In any new arrangement, ensure
that contrasts of colour and tone are suitable to
help people with impaired vision.
||Staff offices and rooms
The Head Teachers
office has carpet, acoustic tiles and vertical adjustable
window blinds. The door has a vision panel from a
height of 1230mm (500mm recommended).
||The Medical Room leads directly off
the reception area and the entrance office and this
has a timber door without vision panels. This has a
clear width of 750mm. The room has acoustic ceiling
tiles and a carpeted floor.
||The corridor to the Staff Room
has a carpeted floor and acoustic ceiling tiles and
includes a space with a photocopier which is about 1000mm
high. The corridor is restricted to a width of about
870mm at a right-angled corner. The two widths at the
corner are 890mm and 870mm. . The last part of the corridor
has a floor of quarry tiles before reaching the Staff
note that the widths of the corridor are too narrow
for most wheelchairs to turn (1200 x 1200mm is recommended)
and ensure that other routes are available for wheelchair
users if required.
||The door of the Staff Room
has a vision panel from a height of 1320mm, floor carpeting
and slatted timber blinds to the windows. The kitchen
units in the Staff Room are at a height of 910mm. The
room has plenty of circulation for wheelchairs but there
are no chairs with arms which may be inconvenient for
some people who have difficulty in sitting down or rising
form a chair.. The door at the other end of the Staff
Room, going towards the fire exit and a small corridor,
has a vision panel from a height of 1080mm up to about
consider alterations to the vision panels, seating
and possibly to the kitchenette if there are problems
for members of staff
with arms would be useful for people who are
frail. Adjustable blinds on the windows would
give protection from glare
In the corridor beyond that Staff
Room there is one small toilet, without an external
label, with a wash basin and a WC. This room has a
width of 900mm and the door opens inwards. It would,
therefore, be very difficult for anybody in a wheelchair
to be able to use this.
There is second WC, marked Ladies,
and again the door opens inwards. The clear width
in here, because of pipes on the wall, is only 800mm.
Recommendation: there appears
to be an urgent need for an accessible WC somewhere
in this school (see para. 5)
||There is a door with a vision panel
from the corridor into the Kitchen but, because the
staff were concerned about visitors entering the Kitchen
while meals were being prepared, this room was not examined.
||Playgrounds and outdoor
at the north side of the school has an asphalt surface
with a few irregularities but nothing that is likely
to be a tripping hazard. There are many markings on
the surface for games of various kinds. There is a
ramp up to some wooden play equipment and thus has
a yellow soft surface. Around the play area there
are a number of timber benches with arms on both sides.
There are little benches for children to sit on in
the space which appears to be is surfaced with bark
chippings. There are also various garden features
and some tables with fixed seating.
temporary building has a ramp which
should be replaced to current standards.
of the playground is accessible for people with
disabilities but there are problems with access
into the buildings.
||There is a small separate building
Portakabin-type building (made by Elliott Medway) which
has a ramp up and this has several problems. First of
all the sides of the ramp look very flimsy and they
do not extend to the bottom of the ramp, so this could
potentially be a tripping hazard. The bottom of the
ramp has a step of about 35mm whereas the maximum recommended
step to avoid a tripping hazard is 15mm. The gradient
of the ramp is about 1 in 11.5 which is too steep. The
entrance door into this building has a sill of about
25mm. This door has glazed panels top and bottom and
the opening width of the door, which opens outwards,
is 850mm. So, all in all, the ramp and the threshold
are the major problems for access to this building.
There is another Portakabin
which has steps up to a platform at a height of 620mm.
It has 5 steps up and a timber handrail, on one side
only, which is a rather loose and stops on the second
tread, and therefore does not give adequate guidance.
Again, there is a very high sill into the building,
with a total height of about 70mm. The entrance door
opens outwards with glazing panels top and bottom.
Recommendation: reconstruct the
access to both these buildings to the standards recommended
in BS 8300
As one goes round the outside of
the building, there are external doors with sills
up to a height of 80mm and one of the thresholds has
a height of 140mm.
paving and covered seating are useful features
at the school ....
but most of the doorways have a step up into
Recommendation: for at least
some of the external doors with steps, provide ramps
with a gradient of not more than 1 in 12, with guard
rails to stop people from tripping over the side of
||Looking at the drawn plan of
the school, the double doors next to the boys
WC in fact open outwards (not inwards as shown on the
drawing). These doors have an extremely awkward threshold
with an outer step painted green of about 45mm, then
a slightly sunken coconut mat which leaves an upstand
of 20mm. Then there is a metal upstand of another 20mm
with a plastic mat inside that leads to a carpeted surface.
These outward opening doors each have a clear width
of about 820mm with vision panels above and below the
consider providing a sloping access without tripping
||The entrance to the dining
space is the most accessible entrance in this area.
This door also opens outwards and is a timber door glazed
top and bottom. This has an awkward double upstand.
The first part is 30mm high and the second about 20mm
high, leading to a mat with a rubber edging on the wood-block
flooring. As this doorway is under cover and there is
not a problem with rain being blown in, it should be
quite easy to make a proper sloping entrance here with
provide a sloping access without tripping hazards.
||It was noticeable that, on the day
of the audit, in all the classrooms the children were
sitting on the floor and most of the doors to the outside
The courtyard opposite the playing
field has doors on each side. These are double doors
opening outwards, glazed top and bottom, but with
exactly the same problems as before of the large steps
at the threshold.
As one goes round towards the south
side, one sees more high thresholds, including one
of about 185mm. The doors generally are timber, opening
outwards and glazed top and bottom.
Recommendation: ensure that there
are doorways without steps to all the main rooms and
spaces in the school.
||In southern area, there is
precast concrete paving, all of which is reasonably
level and there are no real tripping hazards here. It
is an extremely attractive layout with the classrooms
facing out on to playgrounds or on to glass and then
to the adjoining field which is shared, presumably,
with the Junior School nearby.
was also good to see that as well as the grass there
are many areas of planting, including plants in tubs
at a low height which the children can see and touch
The internal spaces generally have
completely level access and lively uses of colour.
The floors of the Dining Room and the Gymnasium is
of wood block flooring and there are vision panels
between the Dining Room and the Gym. The vision panels
between the two are from a height of 840mm. The floor
of the Gym is smooth and shiny and could become slippery
if wet, but this is unlikely. A greater problem could
be that glare from the floor could cause problems
for people with impaired vision.
a) ensure that the problems of glare do not cause
problems for people with disabilities, eg. by screening
direct sunlight with adjustable blinds
b) for doors in frequent use
consider providing vision panels from a height of
500mm to enable wheelchair users and small children
to see and be seen.
||The doors to the Gym are generally
timber, with vision panels from a height of about 1220mm
up to 1500mm and there are similar doors to many of
At the south
end of the school some of the doors have vision panels
above and below the centre rail and these are vertical
vision panels with a width of about 200mm. Some of
these have film stuck over them so that one can see
that if there is somebody there without seeing the
Recommendation: where the vision
panels are higher than 500mm, consider the usage of
each door and make alterations as appropriate. Vision
panels from a height of 500mm may be particularly
useful in a school for young children.
The boys toilet has a dark non-slip Altro-type
floor with light blue walls and white ceramic tiles.
The wash basins are also white so there is a lack of
tone contrast between the white wash basins and the
tiles behind. There is one tap on each of the three
wash basins. One is a cross-tap and the others have
more modern square shaped taps. The floor is a light
colour with areas of rubber edged mat which is glued
to the floor but, because the edges for the mat are
very worn there could be a tripping hazard. The girls
toilets have similar features and problems.
a) where colour contrasts are inadequate, provide
improved contrasts of tone and colour when redecorating;
b) ensure that maintenance is adequate to eliminate
routes are clearly defined by contrasts of colour
There do not appear to be any induction
loops at the school and these could be useful on occasions,
particularly for meetings of parents or governors.
Recommendation: consider providing
induction loops for use in the main areas of the school
Cave, revised September 2002