Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC) was established by the Office for Students (OfS) just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK in early 2020. Since then, the DSC has listened very carefully to the views of disabled students and the many skilled colleagues who support them.
We have used a rigorous process of roundtables, research studies, focus groups, surveys, and discussions. There are many committed staff who support disabled students and many examples of innovative practice across the sector but unfortunately, typically there is not a holistic approach across the institution led by a senior leader as a driver of change. Since our inception, we have looked at the evidence presented to us and clearly taken the view that whilst disabled students do remarkably well, too often it is against the odds. The sector needs to make a quantum shift in the way it supports this group of students.
Consequently, we have developed this Disabled Student Commitment, and it is a call to the sector and its bodies to make the step change that is required to create a more inclusive environment.
The purpose of the Disabled Student Commitment (the Commitment) is to secure an enhanced and improved experience for disabled students within higher education.
The Commitment calls on Higher Education Providers (HEPs), Government, funders, agencies, regulators, and professional, statutory and regulatory bodies to look at what they currently do, what innovative practices they can share, and how they can change.
The Commitment does not seek to replicate or replace legal duties but asks organisations to do more by focusing on how they can improve the disabled student experience. The Commitment encourages HEPs and other organisations to look holistically at their practices and policies, which influence their fulfillment of the Commitment in consultation with disabled students. Secondly, HEPs and other organisations are encouraged to outline how they intend to enhance experiences.
Finally, please note that the DSC will create a student-facing version of the Commitment as part of its launch in early 2023. This version will be finalised based on responses from our consultation and will mirror the existing principles. We have opened the consultation and urge participation by filling out the survey to establish the principles' statement and to guide how we operationalise, embed, and monitor activity.
The consultation is now open
We have opened the consultation to have a better understanding from your side to use the wording clearer in the sector. Once the consultation is closed, we will explore further ways, HEPs can sign up for or monitor their progress in relation to the Commitment.
We invite you to provide your initial thoughts by filling out our survey.
We welcome responses from anyone with an interest in disabled student inclusion in the higher education sector. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Staff, academics, and senior leaders at higher education providers
- Disabled students
- Disability practitioners working directly with disabled students
- Representatives from sector bodies, agencies, and funders whose work interacts with disabled student support
- Employer organisations and public, statutory, and regulatory bodies
- Other stakeholders, including third-sector disability-specific organisations.
Complete the survey by noon on 9 December 2022.
We will use your responses to inform the following two areas, ahead of our official launch of the Disabled Student Commitment in early 2023:
- To finalise the wording of the principles
- To inform how we operationalise, embed and monitor activity
Please email email@example.com for any inquiries related to the consultation, including whether you require this document in an alternative format or if you need assistance with the online form.