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 State of the Nation report about the picture of disability in higher education in England.
New guide poses questions for universities to support disabled students during pandemic
The DSC have published a complementary booklet of guidance for disabled students, to help them ask their university the right questions about reasonable adjustments due to coronavirus restrictions.
The Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC), which is funded by the Office for Students (OfS), ran a series of roundtables to inform a booklet which outlines key areas that present challenges for disabled students.
Geoff Layer, Chair of the Disabled Students' Commission, introduces 'Three months to make a difference' in the video below. This booklet is available to download as a PDF or a Word document.
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
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:
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.
The Disabled Students Commission will meet quarterly over the next three years. The first meeting was held on Monday 9 March 2020.