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Disabled Students' Commission

The Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC) was announced by the former Universities Minister in June 2019 and was formed in March 2020.

This new, independent and strategic group has as its key priority to advise, inform and influence higher education providers to improve support for disabled students.

Through a competitive process, Advance HE was awarded funding by the Office for Students to support the Disabled Students’ Commission for three years. Advance HE will have responsibility for providing secretariat support, as well as overseeing the management, coordination and dissemination of research and other DSC outcomes.

This includes assisting with the group’s annual report about the picture of disability in higher education in England.

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Disabled Students’ Commission publishes annual report

The DSC have published the first annual report, Enhancing the disabled student experience, which provides a summary of all the guidance the Commission has published to date and looking ahead to the next phase of work.

Geoff Layer, Chair of the Disabled Students' Commission, introduces 'Enhancing the disabled student experience' in the video below. 

Access the report

New guidance for disabled applicants applying to undergraduate courses

The DSC has published new guidance, ‘Considerations for disabled applicants applying to undergraduate courses’, containing a number of considerations that will help disabled applicants to pre-empt any barriers that they may encounter and help to ensure that reasonable adjustments are implemented at the outset of their course.

Access the publication
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Masked Out? The implication of using face masks for deaf students in HE

The recent publication by the Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC), Three Months to Make a Difference, explored the inevitable challenges with making campuses Covid-19 secure.

Read the blog
Masked Out? The implication of using face masks for deaf students in HE
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DSC Publications

Three months to make a difference

The DSC ran a series of roundtables to inform this booklet which outlines key areas that present challenges for disabled students. 

Download resource

Considerations for disabled applicants applying to undergraduate courses

This publication has been informed by a series of roundtables run by the DSC in July 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Download resource

Considerations for disabled students when applying to university in light of Covid-19

This booklet is a practical toolkit which aims to support disabled students by providing questions to help ensure a smooth start to their higher education journey.

Download resource

Disabled Students’ Commission Annual Report 2020-2021: Enhancing the disabled student experience

This report is a summary of all the guidance the DSC has published for students with a disability so they can participate fully in higher education, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Download report
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Advance HE resources

Advance HE  has a track record of working to support the sector in improving provision for disabled students, including undertaking extensive research and publishing sector recommendations. Examples of our past work related to students include:

Strategic approaches to disabled student engagement - read more

Understanding adjustments: supporting staff and students who are experiencing mental health difficulties - read more

Managing reasonable adjustments in higher education - read more

Disability services: supporting international students - read more

Supporting disabled students’ transitions from higher education into employment - read more

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Group Membership

Professor Geoff Layer, who was previously Chair of the DSSLG and a current Advance HE Board Member, was appointed Chair of the Disabled Students’ Commission in July 2019 as part of the ministerial announcement of the DSC. Chris Millward, the OfS’s Director for Fair Access and Participation was nominated as a commissioner by the OfS. 

Following a recruitment campaign, six expert commissioners have also been appointed, with two representing the student voice. Dr Sam Parrett, CEO and Group Principal of London South East Colleges, has been appointed as a further education (FE) adviser to the Commission. 

You can find out more about them here: 

Geoff Layer
Chair

Geoff Layer

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton
Read more
Chris Millward

Chris Millward

Director for Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students (OfS)
Read more
Sean Cullen

Sean Cullen

Disability Officer, Brunel University
Read more
Susan Daniels OBE

Susan Daniels

Chief Executive, National Deaf Children's Society
Read more
Sarah Greer

Professor Sarah Greer

Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of Worcester
Read more
Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson

Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, University of Manchester
Read more
Professor Deborah Johnston

Professor Deborah Johnston

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), London South Bank University
Read more
Piers Wilkinson

Piers Wilkinson

NUS - Disabled Students' Officer
Read more
Dr Sam Parrett

Dr Sam Parrett

London and South East Education Group
Read more

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference outline the roles and responsibilities of the DSC and supporting organisations in order to positively progress the crucial agenda over the next three years.

Read the terms of reference

Timetable

The Disabled Students Commission will meet quarterly over the next three years. The first meeting was held on Monday 9 March 2020.

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Enquire about the Disabled Students’ Commission

If you are interested in finding out more or have a question about the work of the DSC, please complete the form below or email dsc@advance-he.ac.uk.

Do you have a question about the work of the Disabled Students' Commission (DSC)?

If you are interested in finding out more or have a question about the work of the DSC, please complete the form below and one of our team will contact you soon.

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