New guidance for Post-16 Education sector on disabilityKey guidance for the post-16 education sector has just been launched - aimed at reducing inequalities experienced by disabled students.
A Code of Practice for those providing post-16 education has been produced by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and follows changes to the law (under the Disability Discrimination Act) last September.
The legal changes mean the sector cannot refuse to provide education to a student simply because they have a disability or long term health condition. For example, if a blind woman is not offered a place on an IT course because the education provider wrongly assumes that blind people cannot use computers then this is likely to be what is legally termed ‘direct discrimination’ and is now unlawful.
The Code of Practice explains how a number of legal changes introduced last September will impact on post-16 providers and gives examples on how these changes can be put into practice to ensure disabled students are treated fairly.
Launching the Post-16 Code, Sir Bert Massie, Chairman of the DRC, said:
“It’s now been clearly established that if we improve educational outcomes in post-16 learning then disabled students have a better chance of getting work. These new duties aim to reduce inequalities and so increase the numbers of disabled people moving into and progressing in the workplace.
“We believe these changes will make a real difference to disabled people’s lives and help institutions build on much of the good work they have been doing in recent years to improve the life chances of disabled people.”
In an analysis of legal casework, the DRC found the most common allegations of disability discrimination were in relation to: teaching practice; exams and assessments; learning support; equipment and materials; outings and trips. Negative experiences in these areas and others may lead to disabled people leaving courses, never completing qualifications and ending up disengaged, disempowered and out of work.
‘The Code of Practice (revised) for providers of post-16 education and related services’ can be downloaded from the DRC’s website at: www.drc.org.uk/library/publications/education/code_of_practice_post_16.aspx. Print versions can be ordered through the Stationery Office.
Further information from Alyson Rose in the DRC press office on 0207543 7043 or out of hours on 0777 6171279.