Disabled Students' Allowances

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken since the inception of Disabled Students Allowance to ensure that those setting the criteria for the Disabled Students Allowance are fully informed about normal practice in identifying and supporting those with special educational needs within the school population.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that (1) currently, and (2) in the future, those setting the criteria for eligibility for Disabled Students Allowance consult the school sector about making such criteria compatible and in accordance with recommended practice for special education needs and disability within the maintained school system.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The arrangements introduced in 2014 through the Children and Families Act for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in schools and further education do not apply to students on a higher education course. This is because the higher education environment is very different to that in schools and in further education, with an emphasis on independent learning. The role of local authorities does not extend to securing higher education for young people with SEND. Moving into higher education is deemed a successful outcome for those with special educational needs.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are available only to eligible students studying a designated higher education course. There are no plans to align the eligibility criteria with those used for providing support in the schools sector. However, where a young person has an education, health and care plan the local authority is required to share that information with the DSAs study needs assessor, if that is requested by the young person.

This ensures that strategies that have already been used successfully in earlier stages of education may be considered within the context of higher education.

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