Guidance for staff on student administration and support
The University has a duty (see Public Sector Equality Duty - PSED in the Glossary) to advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic, including those with a disability, and people who do not. Academic staff play an important role in ensuring that the University fulfils this duty. In their teaching, academic staff facilitate all students’ intellectual formation and study paths through the individual attention possible through the tutorial system, and impart key subject knowledge and access to the latest research through lectures (‘Policy and Guidance on Undergraduate Teaching’, p.5.). Academic staff must deliver teaching in a way that promotes equal access to teaching and learning for all students, and an equal opportunity to meet their academic potential, irrespective of a disability or other protected characteristic.
Universities are also under a legal obligation under the Equality Act (2010) to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students to ensure that they are not put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with students who are not disabled. If reasonable adjustments are not put in place, this is unlawful discrimination.
The University has an equality duty to not just respond to student needs, but to anticipate them where possible. We must think ahead about the common barriers to study disabled people with a range of impairments might experience, and remove them, without waiting for a specific student to need an adjustment. Approximately 10-15% of all students require some form of adjustment to teaching due to a disability. Examples of anticipatory adjustments might include: ensuring that all teaching materials from a lecture series are available in advance of each session in electronic format; making explicit the objectives for each session at the beginning; communicating key points using multiple methods/formats; structuring the timetable and selecting venues to take account of students who have difficulty moving between sites due to a physical impairment or who tire easily due to a chronic health condition.
The University has committed to providing ‘exemplary inclusive practice’ in its Common Framework for Supporting Disabled Students. ‘This extends to the design and delivery of the curriculum, and departments are expected to bear this in mind in reviewing the teaching and assessment methods, as well as the physical space, via which their courses are delivered.’ [Policy and guidance on undergraduate learning and teaching, p.14.]
Specifically with respect to provision for disabled students, it is the responsibility of academic staff to:
NEXT PAGE: LIBRARIES
Advice for tutors on implementing reasonable adjustments to teaching
Oxford Teaching Ideas: inclusive teaching resources
The Equality Act and the Common Framework for Supporting Disabled Students
What is a Student Support Plan?
Making decisions about adjustments
Sharing information and confidentiality
Policy and guidance on undergraduate learning and teaching, v 1.3 September 2018
The information on this page is available for you to download as a pdf
Disability Advisory Service