Students: Disability

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Leader of the Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will take steps to ensure that academic staff are aware of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to make provision for the needs of disabled students.

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Universities and Science)

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have clear legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to support their students, including those with disabilities.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has produced a range of guidance for institutions on their obligations under the Equality Act 2010, including technical guidance setting out the detail of the law.

Guidance is also produced by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), a higher education sector body that supports equality and diversity for staff and students across the UK, including for disabled staff and students on managing “reasonable adjustments”. The ECU also published a report on the implications for institutions of the key issues contained in the Equality Act 2010.

In addition, to support higher education providers to prepare for the changes to Disabled Students’ Allowances that come into effect from academic year 2016/17, the Department has facilitated the establishment of a senior sector-led group. The group’s focus is communication with senior leaders of higher education providers, including provision of information about their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students.

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