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Disabled Students’ Commission publishes annual report

21 Jan 2021 | Advance HE First annual review from the independent group formed to challenge inform and advise universities and colleges in England to improve support for disabled students.

Disabled Students’ Commission Annual Report, Enhancing the disabled student experience, is a summary of all the guidance the Commission has published for students with a disability so they can participate fully in higher education, particularly during the Covid-19 global pandemic. The review also looks beyond Covid-19 support and sets out what the Commission will focus on in its next phase of work.

The report covers how the Commission adapted its original workplan to help disabled students access higher education during the pandemic. The review also shows how the Commission will return its focus to the student life-cycle model for the next academic year, while continually assessing the impact of Covid-19 on disabled students.

Professor Geoff Layer, Chair of the Disabled Students’ Commission said, “2020 has been a challenging year for the higher education sector and all students have experienced significant changes and challenges. Disabled students specifically have experienced a particular set of difficulties and the DSC therefore turned our attention for a large part of this year to advising the sector on how to address these specific challenges, working with key sector agencies and with disabled students themselves to produce a series of recommendations. 

“Looking ahead to 2021, we will continue with our agenda to work with the sector to promote change, removing barriers for learners, and to empower the disabled student experience, enabling them to thrive. We will follow a student life-cycle based approach, in order to enhance the disabled student experience all the way from the transition from school or college, through HE and then to enter into postgraduate study or employment.”

Recommendations for future research by the Commission include:

  • ensuring disabled students are not treated as a homogenous group when developing policy responses to Covid-19
  • how disability intersects with students’ other identity characteristics, such as race, gender and social background
  • increased consultation with disabled students from all levels and routes of study to understand the variety and nuance in experiences.


 Click here to read the Disabled Students’ Commission Annual Report: Enhancing the disabled student experience and watch Chair Geoff Layer introduce the report in an accessible video

Advance HE has responsibility for providing secretariat support, as well as overseeing the management, coordination and dissemination of research and other DSC outcomes. Find out more about the Disability Students’ Commission


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