Education bosses must do more to encourage disabled students

Disabled student web

The One in Five campaign met with education bosses for talks this week, having highlighted a gap in disability admissions

7th June 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

University bosses must do more to encourage more people with disabilities to become students.

Campaign group One in Five wants to see disability recognised as a fundamental part of the admissions process.

The group, which was set up to empower and promote opportunities for the one in five Scots who are disabled, met with Universities Scotland, the representative body of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, this week to discuss the disability admissions gap.

Currently, only 11.5% of students are identified as disabled and One in Five believes more must be done to remove the barriers disabled people face accessing higher education.

Following the meeting, One in Five co-founder Jamie Szymkowiak said it was positive but more has to be done to help prospective students.

He said: "One in Five welcomes the positive engagement from Universities Scotland during this week's meeting. However, it is clear that more could be done to address the disability admissions gap and we recommended a number of areas in which Universities Scotland must do better.

“It's One in Five's view that Universities Scotland must clarify the processes around disability and contextual admissions as soon as possible – and these processes must be consistent across Scotland's universities."

Fellow group founder Pam Duncan-Glancy said: "University gave me the chances I needed to get on in life. That is an opportunity that simply must be afforded to anyone, regardless of disability or background.”

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland said the meeting had helped his organisation understand One in Five’s concerns.

“Our discussions made clear that we are not that far apart in our views,” he said. “Universities are working to ensure that applications from people with disabilities are given fair and personalised consideration. Universities have already recognised that there is more work to do to make admissions policies more consistently clear for applicants. Clarity about how applications from people with disabilities are considered needs to be part of this work.   

“We hope this will encourage more learners with disabilities to identify themselves to universities, to enable informed consideration of their applications and ensure that any required support is put in place. We want to see continuing growth in the number of disabled Scottish students who attend university and who go on to positive destinations.”