Reporter 458, 6 November 2000

Senate news

The University is in the process of adopting a forthright policy statement on the rights of disabled students, following an initiative from the Learning and Teaching Board and a discussion in Senate’s academic development committee.

Legislation is expected in the near future requiring institutions in both pre- and post-16 education to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate people with disabilities and making it unlawful to treat them less favourably.

A working group set up by the board found several instances where simple adaptations to teaching and assessment arrangements had enabled students with disabilities to compete on an equal basis.

A policy statement drawn up by the group was agreed by the Learning and Teaching Board and has been endorsed by the Senate committee. It declares: "Disabled students will not be excluded from the provisions of the University other than on grounds of health and safety.

"Justification for exclusion on grounds of health and safety will only be accepted when it can be demonstrated that all appropriate accommodations have been explored."

The initiative is in line with the latest best practice guidelines from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Quality Assurance Agency.

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