Advance HE has published the final annual report on behalf of the Disabled Students’ Commission as the three-year project funded by the Office for Students comes to an end.
The Annual Report 2022-2023: Enhancing the disabled student experience provides a summary of the Commission’s key achievements and guidance in 2022-2023.
Established as a new initiative by the Universities Minister in 2020 just days before the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, the Disabled Student Commission has worked with students, staff and agencies in the higher education sector over the past three years to address the needs of disabled students.
Its final annual report for 2022-2023 covers the publication of the Disabled Student Commitment, a framework for higher education providers to make the step-change required to create a more inclusive HE environment and details the partnerships with sector organisations that have led to important works which seek to address the disabled student experience at all corners of the HE lifecycle.
Professor Geoff Layer, Chair of the Disabled Students’ Commission, said,
“The last 50 years has seen a focus on supporting the individual needs of disabled students in higher education producing an overreliance on models of individual support.
“Let’s be clear, it is crucially important to support the needs of disabled learners but the Disabled Student Commitment challenges the sector to take everything to a new level. The Commitment calls for universities and colleges to take a strategic and holistic approach to enabling disabled students to not only perform academically but to have a much better student experience and to help them move into employment. Most importantly, it also says that the assessment of how an institution meets the challenge should be undertaken by its disabled students; after all, it is their experience.”