We are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability.

We aim to confirm to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at A level (see here). These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible for people with disabilities. Conformance with these guidelines will help make the web more user friendly for all people.

This site has been built using code compliant with W3C standards for XHTML and CSS. The site displays correctly in current browsers and using standards compliant code means any future browsers will also display it correctly.

We use a common design throughout the site so that everyone gets a good experience, whilst allowing text sizes and colours to be changed to suit individual needs. Read more below about the specific functions available and advice on how to get the most from the website.


We ensure that all images used as links or that give extra information are given appropriate alternative text descriptions ("ALT texts"), as required by internationally-recognised Web accessibility guidelines. All graphical navigation buttons are similarly ALT-tagged. Decorative images are left un-tagged so that they don’t interfere when using screen-readers.

Plain English

We understand the need for us to present information to you in clear, straightforward language. Therefore, all our web authors are trained to write our web pages in plain English with the end user in mind – no jargon, no formal language, no bewildering acronyms. If you see a page that you feel does not make sense or is badly written, please let us know using our website feedback form

Changeable text size and colours

You can change the text size in Internet Explorer by going to "View > Text size" and selecting your preferred text size.

You can change the text colours in Internet Explorer. Go to "Tools > Internet options > Accessibility" and tick the boxes to turn off the default colours. Then go back to "Colours" to select your preferred text colours.

For more information on changing text sizes and colours on a wide variety of platforms, please use the BBC resource My Web My Way

Sensible use of file formats and technologies

This site uses PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file format for the publication of large and complex documents. Please note that Adobe Acrobat documents can be converted back to plain text using Adobe's Web-based conversion service

To view and print PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat© Reader installed: click here to download the software.

You can change the settings on Adobe Reader to make PDFs more compatible with screen reading programs. Click here to find out how to make PDFs more accessible (this link goes to the Adobe website).

In general, we try to avoid unnecessary use of other proprietary publishing formats such as Shockwave Flash and other media formats requiring third-party plug-ins. If we do use Flash, we will provide an alternative image for visitors who don’t have Flash. We use other technologies, such as Javascript, appropriately to avoid creating accessibility barriers. We focus on the use of "open" publishing standards, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium.

Opening pages in new windows

As you browse the website and click on navigation links or links within pages, they will usually open in the same window to allow you to move through the site easily.

Links to PDF documents will open in a new window as these are usually downloadable documents. External links will also open in a new window as they take you to another website.

If you want to open any link in a new window, you can hold down the shift key and then click the link. If you want to open a link in a new tab in your browser, hold down the CTRL key and then click the link.


If you have any concerns about material which appears on our site, please contact [email protected]. Thank you for visiting our site.