Disabled students ‘still need more help’, says report

Disabled students are calling on universities to do more to help them to access campus facilities.

October 4, 2013

Many disabled students are unable to use lecture theatres and libraries, according to a report by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers group.

Some institutions are also failing to signpost vital information required by disabled students, such as details about accessible university accommodation or how wheel-chair users could navigate campuses.

The study, titled University Challenge, published on 3 October, used information from disabled students at 100 UK universities.

It found that only half of universities had made all their teaching rooms, study rooms and libraries fully accessible for students with mobility difficulties.

Only a quarter of the universities audited had considered disabled students when planning freshers’ week information, it added.

Sixty per cent of students polled also felt there is not enough information for disabled students on university websites regarding accessible accommodation.

While the number of disabled student attending university had increased in recent years, more needed to be done to help them play a full part in campus life, said Tanvi Vyas, project manager at Trailblazers.

“We continue to hear about how many universities are still missing the mark when it comes to helping people planning on entering higher education and helping them to complete their time there,” she said.

Disabled students also raised concerns over local authorities and the care packages they provided, with many young people telling how worries over continuity of social care when moving away from home had heavily influenced where they eventually chose to study.

“My local council…were quite insistent that I should stay and study at my local university (ranked 119th as opposed to Oxford, ranked first) and do a course that I had absolutely no interest in,” said Zoe Hallam, who studied at the University of Oxford.

“My decision to move away was treated with complete bewilderment; there was no understanding of how my care package would be accommodated, and the idea that agency care was more expensive in the new local authority caused real problems when negotiating my direct payments,” she added.

The Trailblazers report found universities had improved their disability access since it conducted a similar study four years ago, but more support was needed for students with disabilities.


You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy