Review of Support for Disabled Students in Higher Education in England

Williams M, Pollard E, Takala H, Houghton AM |   | Office for Students | Oct 2019

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This report presents findings from the second phase of a study to review models of support for disabled students in higher education (HE) in England. Phase one, undertaken in 2016/17, established a baseline of provision.

Phase two, the focus of this report, reviews progress by higher education providers (HEPs) over the subsequent two years to implement new models of support which reflect a more inclusive approach. It also assesses the impact of increased government funding to support these changes.

Overall (across Phases one and two) the research explores the approach to supporting disabled students across the sector and particularly the use and experience of inclusive models of support.

Phase one was undertaken by IES and REAP in 2016/17 and established the baseline of provision (at that time). This involved a review of the nature and levels of support, the understanding across the sector of inclusive approaches, and an assessment of progress towards inclusive models.

The Phase one research involved an online survey of publicly funded HE providers who received at least £20,000 in disability funding. This was supplemented with 13 case studies: three early case studies to support the development of the questionnaire, and 10 main-stage case studies to gather more detailed insights into the issues of developing inclusive provision.

Phase two – the focus of this research report – reviews the progress made over the subsequent two years. It assesses the impact of the increased central funding to support disabled students and encourage HE providers to adopt an increasingly inclusive approach that reduces the need for reasonable adjustment. It also expanded the scope of the research to include alternative and private HE providers.