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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 State of the Nation report about the picture of disability in higher education in England.

Disabled Students Commission logo

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.

Access the publication

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.

Download the full booklet: Three months to make a difference
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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

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

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


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

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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