Plymouth's model of inclusivity

January 30, 2004

Plymouth University, which has one of the highest proportions of disabled students in the country, is leading the field in efforts to meet student needs, writes Chris Johnston.

Judith Waterfield, head of Plymouth's Disability Assist Services (Das), said its activities were very much aligned with teaching and learning at the university. Some 7.4 per cent of those on full-time first-degree courses receive the disabled students' allowance.

Das has been working with academics to make Plymouth's curriculum more accessible to all students and to rethink assessment methods.

As well as helping academic staff to cope with students with special needs, Ms Waterfield said the service paid particular attention to identifying dyslexia.

She said it was possible for students to embark on courses without realising they were dyslexic, so staff are trained to be aware of symptoms and to let students know help is available.

The Disability Discrimination Act helps widen awareness of disability support throughout and created a more inclusive agenda, Ms Waterfield said.

"Good practice for disabled students is also good for students with a whole host of other needs," she said.

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