A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.
All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise.
To view the new website, please visit http://www.education.gov.uk


National Strategies is committed to ensuring that this website is accessible to the widest possible range of people. Maintaining an accessible site is an ongoing process and we are continually working to offer a user friendly experience. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the accessibility of this site, or if you have difficulty using any part of it, please contact us.

This help page is designed to give you information that is specific to accessing the NS Online website and is not an exhaustive reference guide to the subject of accessibility. There is a great deal more help and information available as well as assistive technologies.

More information can be found on the BBC site:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/

About accessibility

Shaw Trust logo

To be accessible this website must be as easy to use and understand for as many visitors as possible. The National Strategies realise the importance of ensuring this and have undergone an Accessibility Audit by Shaw Trust.

This website conforms to the UK government guidelines for websites. It also follows the Worldwide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, meeting all level double-A checkpoints.


This website has been designed to support as wide a variety of browser and operating system combinations as possible and has been tested with Internet Explorer 7 and above, Chrome 2.0, Safari 3.1 and Firefox 3.0 and 3.5. We would recommend upgrading your browser as far as your computer allows. Later versions of browsers often have higher levels of security and better functions and are more likely to work with assistive technologies such as screen readers. Most browser suppliers will allow you to upgrade for free. Visit the browser's website to find out about the latest versions and to download them.

Changing text size and colour

You can change the font size and colour in your web browser. This may be useful for you if you have low vision, and need larger fonts or high contrast colours.

Image showing three text size icons

Text size

The font size can be changed via your web browser preferences, or by clicking on the Text size icons in the header area of this website. Please note that this accessibility feature on the site is not supported by Internet Explorer 6.

Image showing contrast selectors


You can change to the high contrast viewing option of this website by clicking on the contrast selector in the header area.

Keyboard navigation

You can use your keyboard to navigate through this site. Use your arrow keys to scroll up or down the page. You can use your Tab key to move between links, and press Return or Enter to select one. To go back to the previous page, use the Backspace key.

If you are using a Mac, you can move between links by holding down the ALT key and pressing the Tab key.

Access keys

We have set up some keyboard shortcuts as an alternative to navigating with the mouse:

S - Skip navigation
1 - Home page
3 - Sitemap
4 - Search
6 - Help
7 - Contact
8 - Terms and Conditions
9 - Feedback
0 - Accessibility help page including access key detail

Unfortunately, different browsers use access keys in different ways.  In general you need to hold down a key or two, and then press the access key you want.

How to use Access Keys in your Browser

BrowserKey sequence
Internet Explorer 5+ (PC) Hold down the ALT key, the number of the access key, release both keys then press ENTER
Internet Explorer 4 (PC) Hold down the ALT key and number of the access key
Internet Explorer 5+ (Mac) Hold down the CTRL key and number of the access key
Internet Explorer 4.5 (Mac) Access keys not supported
Netscape 6 and earlier (PC and Mac) Access keys not supported
Netscape 7 (PC) Hold down the ALT key and number of the access key
Firefox, Mozilla (PC) Hold down the ALT key and number of the access key
Firefox, Mozilla (Mac) Hold down the CTRL key and number of the access key
Safari and Omniweb (Mac) Hold down the CTRL key and number of the access key
Opera Hold down the Shift key and press Escape, release both keys, then press the number of the accesskey

Downloading documents

This website links to documents and files in a number of formats. You may need special software to read some of these files.

The links below enable you to download free software to allow you to open these files.

PDF accessibility

Adobe's website offers useful information about services to make Acrobat documents more accessible.