Friday, 15 February 2019

Universities Urged to Boost Number of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education

Chris Skidmore, Universities Minister, is urging universities to boost the number of students with disabilities going into higher education and to do more to help them succeed when they get there.

Although the number of people going to university from this underrepresented group has increased to a record amount they still only represent 13% of entrants this is well below the proportion of working-age adults with a disability.

Chris Skidmore has asked key stakeholders to meet with him to discuss how the higher education sector can continue to break down barriers and secure improvements for students with disabilities.

Talking about the issue the Universities Minister, said "No-one’s background or circumstances should hold them back from the opportunity of a university education and there is no reason why disability should be a barrier to fulfilling someone’s potential.

I want to see the access and participation plans that universities are beginning to produce increase the ways they can support this group."

"Institutions such as Brunel University, with their award-winning Disability and Dyslexia Service, and the University of Worcester, who have built their entire campus with accessibility in mind, are leading the way – there is no reason why other universities can’t follow suit and match their provision. Working with key stakeholders and disabled students, I believe that we can do more to break down access and participation barriers in higher education by focusing on spreading good practice and listening to disabled students about their needs."

The Department for Education has published research showing that the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) has helped to break down barriers that can exist for disabled students at university. The research shows results from a survey of disabled students, which found that 69 per cent felt confident about completing their course and 68 per cent felt confident about passing their course.

Universities that charge fees above the basic level must draw up an access and participation plan agreed by the Office for Students and higher education providers have legal responsibilities to support disabled students under the Equality Act 2010.

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