Special Education & Disability Act and SI Education
Presented on Tuesday, 12 March 2002Implications for Deaf Students in FE
by Marian Grimes
NB: references in square brackets relate to the Disability Rights Commission's Code of Practice (Post 16)*
*referred to as the Code of Practice throughout this handout (details at the end)
"Disabled people should have the same opportunities as non-disabled people to benefit wherever possible from whatever education or other related provision is available" [1.2]
Definition of discrimination
- Less favourable treatment which can't be justified (from 1 September 2002)
- Failure to make reasonable adjustments causing substantial disadvantage (from 1 September 2002 - additional auxiliary aids by 1 September 2003 and physical features by 1 September 2005)
Who is covered?
- Students with a physical and/or mental disability which is substantial, adverse and long-term. These relate to the ability to do normal day-to-day activities. [A1.15 exemptions are interesting!]
The definitions are different to those within the F&HE (Scotland) Act and the Learning and Skills Act 2000 (both of which relate to learning as poopsed to the ability to do normal day-to-day activities). [A1.17] Could be confusing!
Who have responsibilities?
- Most providers of further, higher, adult and community education (for exemptions see the Code of Practice, Section 3)
What services are covered?
- Any services that are provided for students, including education, training, leisure facilities and accommodation. It also covers admissions, enrolments and exclusions.
Can an organisation justify less favourable treatment?
- Only if one of the following conditions is fulfilled:
- it is necessary to maintain academic standards
- it is necessary to maintain other prescribed standards
- it is of a prescribed type
- it occurs in prescribed circumstances
- the reasons are both material to the circumstances of the case and substantial
What is a 'reasonable' adjustment?
- Organisations must take notice of the Act, but
individual circumstances will vary (eg; depending on the type of service
offered; the type of organisation and its size, and the effect of the
disability on the student)
Some of the factors which may be important are:
- the need to maintain academic and other prescribed standards
- the finances available to the organisation
- grants, loans, aids and services which may be available to the student
- the cost of making an adjustment
- how practical the adjustment is
- health and safety requirements
- the relevant interests of other people including other students
- It is an 'anticipatory duty' (don't wait until a disabled person applies before thinking about making adjustments!)
Who is responsible for ensuring that students are not discriminated against in exams?
- The awarding body of the qualification
- What is the minimum content/quality of Deaf Awareness Training? (eg; if a college's defence is resting on the fact that staff have been trained [2.11; 8.8A])
- What is the minimum acceptable standard of needs assessments (eg; for type and quantity of support at pre-entry, post-entry and exit stages)?
Provision of support workers (eg; BSL/English interpreters)
- What are the minimum acceptable types and levels of qualifications which workers should have? [3.19B; 6.7B]
Entrance requirements - literacy
- Are all courses clear about how far specific standards of written English are essential - in addition to knowledge and skills in the subject? [4.4B; 4.11A; 4.15C; 4.25A; 4.27A; 6.16A]