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 allow the Quality Assurance Agency to include an assessment of how well universities are meeting the needs of disabled students in their remit.

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

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone with the potential has the opportunity to benefit from higher education, irrespective of their background or mode of learning. In the last year we saw record numbers of applicants and entrants to higher education, and record application rates among students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Universities expect to spend more than £745 million through access agreements agreed with the Director of Fair Access on measures to improve access and success for students from disadvantaged groups, including disabled students - up significantly from £404 million in 2009.

Under the Equality Act 2010, higher education institutions have a role and responsibility for promoting equality, including for students with disabilities.

The UK Quality Code promotes an inclusive approach by embedding consideration of equality and diversity throughout higher education institutions. Promoting equality for disabled students can include eliminating arbitrary and unnecessary barriers to learning and offering learning opportunities that are equally accessible to them. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) looks for evidence that universities promote equality when making assessments of higher education institutions in line with the UK Quality Code.

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