This blog is part of the series featuring ideas contained in the new HEPI-Brightside report, Reaching the parts of society universities have missed: A manifesto for the new Director for Fair Access and Participation. It showcases the idea from Megan Dunn, Senior Policy Advisor at the Equalities Challenge Unit (now Advance HE).
In January 2017, the Disabled Students’ Sector Leadership Group published its guidance on Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: a route to excellence. This advises institutions to create inclusive learning environments, and remove barriers that are commonly faced by disabled students. To ensure that disabled students are supported in higher education, providers must create inclusive learning environments, looking beyond issues relating to the physical estate and ensure that the requirements of disabled students are considered in all elements of the higher education experience.
Higher education providers must create more inclusive admissions, discussing with disabled applicants how their requirements would be met before they decide which institution they want to attend. Inclusive teaching and learning practice should be considered in course design and delivery. Careers advice must ensure disabled students not only get the support they need to find a job, just like their non-disabled peers, but that they are aware of their rights in the workplace and how to exercise those rights.
If higher education is to meet its obligations to students and society, the Office for Students needs to work with universities to ensure that disabled students are supported to succeed in an inclusive higher education environment.