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Educational Institutions: Visual Impairment

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL1363, tabled on 23 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made the report by the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research at the University of Birmingham Lost in Transition? The post-school experiences of young people with vision impairment, published on 18 June; and what steps they are taking to ensure that all educational institutions are accessible for those with visual impairments.

Answered on

6 July 2021

HM government believes it is important that students with disabilities receive the appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study, and is committed to ensuring that they all receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the legal obligations that schools, early years providers, post-16 institutions, local authorities, and others have towards children and young people with disabilities.

All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual children and young people with disabilities. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage.

Schools must publish accessibility plans and local authorities must publish accessibility strategies setting out how they plan to increase access for pupils with disabilities to the curriculum, the physical environment, and information. These duties are anticipatory – they require thought to be given in advance to what children and young people with disabilities might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage.

The government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all higher education students with disabilities

Wherever possible, students with disabilities should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers.

In terms of funding, the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in higher education because of their disability.

DSA is not means-tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment.