Developing inclusive practices at the University of
It’s not really an issue about accommodating special circumstances, it’s
more an issue about getting a student centred approach to teaching and
learning.” [Professor Jonathan Montgomery 1]
1. Defining Inclusion
Drawing on a range of definitions [1-17] the Inclusion Task Force has chosen to
define inclusive learning and teaching as:
Recognising, accommodating and meeting the learning needs of all
Recognising that students may reach their goals and realise their potential in
different ways – and that this is true particularly for students who have an
additional learning need or a disability;
Recognising that students have valuable skills and expertise that they can
bring to the learning experience;
Acknowledging that students have a range of individual learning needs and
are members of diverse communities;
Avoiding pigeonholing students into specific groups with predictable and
fixed approaches to learning.
Approaches to developing inclusive learning and teaching will therefore be
underpinned by some or all of the following principles:
Proactivity: planning for and anticipating how to address a range of learning
Adaptability: being flexible, varying teaching and assessment practices,
making reasonable adjustments, reviewing and modifying practices in the
light of feedback and evaluation;
Coherence: approaches, methods etc. adopted are consistent, well-
organized and ensure equity in terms of how students are dealt with and the
learning experiences they are offered;
Holism: teaching practice that covers all aspects of curriculum and
environment and involves the whole department/institution in a collaborative,
seamless and joined-up manner;
Transparency: clearly communicating (internally and externally) a
consistent message regarding inclusion and being open in communicating
and promoting that message.
We are applying these definitions and principles to inclusion as it relates to
disability, but they could equally apply to race, culture, gender and other issues.
Therefore methods and approaches designed to include students with
disabilities could benefit all students [18,19].
Jane Seale, J.K.Soton.ac.uk Page 1
2. An indicative good practice check-list for Schools
It is not our intention to produce an exhaustive, formalised good practice
checklist because several good ones exist in the public domain already [12-19].
This section therefore provides an overview of the kinds of questions that
Schools could address in relation to inclusion, which is intended to be
informative rather than prescriptive.
5.1 Learning environment
1. How does your School ensure that the venues to be used for teaching and
the ways of informing students about that are compatible with the disclosed
needs of the students?
2. How does your School communicate with students with disabilities in order
to identify their support needs (e.g. note-taker, sign language interpreter)
and the potential implications for the way in which the learning environment
3. Does the way in which your School organises placements, study abroad or
field trips take the needs of disabled students into account?
5.2 Learning resources
1. Does your School as a matter of routine make the information provided for
students in lectures (and other activities) available in ways that take into the
account the needs of all students, including those with disabilities?
2. Are staff in your School aware of the relatively simple ways in which they
can make learning resources accessible to all students (e.g. preparing in
electronic format, coloured handouts, large font size, wide margins and
spaces, reduced italics and boldening)?
5.3 Curriculum design and development
1. What flexibility is available in your programme of study in relation to student
attendance, part-time or full-time, extensions to programme completion
dates, transfer to other programmes and scope for choice of modules or
elements within the programme?
2. In the mapping of assessment to learning outcomes has the possibility of
offering alternative assessment tasks to meet the needs of a range of
students been considered?
3. What are the procedures for acquiring feedback from disabled students
about courses and how is this applied to course reviews and future course
4. Where appropriate, are disabled people involved in the process of designing
and developing new course/curricula?
5. Would the content of your course be different if you asked yourself “what is
important to disabled people about this subject matter”?
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5.4 Learning and teaching methods and activities
1. Does the programme use a variety of instructional strategies or teaching
2. Are there opportunities for students to suggest different methods/activities or
tasks that would meet the learning outcomes?
3. How do teaching staff take into account the previous experiences of
students and the learning strategies they have developed?
4. Does the ways in which your School makes adjustments to teaching
methods and learning activities maximize student’s independence?
5. What arrangements do you make for flexibility over deadlines and
timetabling of assessments for students requiring this?
6. Do teaching staff provide opportunities for the experiences, voices, work and
learning of students with disabilities to be shared and valued?
7. Do the learning and teaching methods used on your programmes encourage
students to work together in mixed groups e.g. in lab work?
8. Do the examples that teaching staff use (e.g. case studies, scenarios) reflect
the diversity of people in the community and the workplace? (e.g. with
respect to disability, race, culture and gender)
9. Do students have the opportunity to choose their units, work placements and
other learning activities?
10. Are teaching sessions planned to allow question and discussion time, as
well as opportunities for reinforcing knowledge and building on what is
5.5 Learning support
1. When reviewing students’ academic progress, do staff evaluate (in
collaboration with students) whether the support requirements of disabled
students are being met effectively?
2. Can teaching staff provide feedback to students on their work/performance
in a way that is appropriate for students with disabilities e.g. by email for
blind students (so their screen reader can access it) and that recognises
3. Has your School discussed with students, possible procedures that could be
put in place to promote trust and respect in your School e.g. setting aside
time when students can ask questions or disclose a disability in private or
agreeing how to liaise with placement providers over specific needs?
4. Do teaching staff ask students prior to teaching, about their individual needs
and what reasonable adjustments could be made to improve access and
5. 6 Staff attitudes and awareness
1. Do teaching staff know about other university services that can help to
support disabled students?
2. Are internal and external teaching staff aware of the procedures within the
institution/school for accessing support for disabled students?
Jane Seale, J.K.Soton.ac.uk Page 3
3. Have you considered offering appropriate disability awareness or equality
training to staff in placement organisations?
4. Has your School considered the ways in which it might inform staff in
advance, of the disclosed needs of students likely to require additional help
or modification of teaching practice to enable students to participate e.g.
large font size for handouts?
5. When discussing the needs of disabled students with potential placement
providers and other learning support staff do you focus on the positive
abilities of the students, rather than the nature of their disability?
5.7 Student awareness
1. Are disabled students advised of the availability of flexible study modes?
2. Do induction sessions include information about support available for
disabled students and how it can be accessed?
3. Will the induction process enable students to test out their existing strategies
for managing their learning and identify what they see as barriers to their
4. Is your School able to respond flexibly, to requests from students for
adjustments and alternatives?
5. Do teaching staff provide timely guidance to disabled students of the types
of learning activities (incl. Placements) they will be expected to undertake,
so that students can negotiate and plan their support requirements well in
6. Is your School able to offer additional assistance within induction into the
range of teaching settings and methods used?
7. Do you positively promote placements, study abroad and field trips to
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3. Useful Resources2
 http://www.glos.ac.uk/adu/clt/dcpd/guide Flexible online CPD course for staff.
.cfm Guide also available online with
checklists and questions to promote
 http://www.space.ac.uk HEFCE funded Project aimed at
developing and promoting alternative
forms of assessment as a way of
facilitating a more inclusive approach to
 http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/alert/ HEFCE funded project to identify
methods of supporting disabled
students to enable them to achieve the
pedagogical objectives of their VLE.
 http://www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching Practical advice about teaching
Provides an insight into the experience
of disabled students including some
 http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.a Describes the activities of an Inclusion
sp?page=10878 Forum at Plymouth.
“Inclusion is a process. It is a never
ending search to find better ways of
responding to diversity. It is about
learning how to live with difference and
learning how to learn from difference. “
 http://www.techdis.ac.uk/resources/files/ Offers a series of practical suggestions
curricula.pdf for modifying the learning and teaching
environment to provide effective and
efficient support for all students.
 http://scips.worc.ac.uk/ HEFCE funded project that provides a
keyword searchable database of
strategies for improving access to the
curriculum for disabled students
 http://www.ecu.ac.uk/ Equality Challenge Unit
Events, guidance, publications, and
 http://www.teachability.strath.ac.uk/inde Eight online booklets providing advice
x.html on how to make a range of L&T
[10 http://www.shu.ac.uk/services/lti/accessi Accessible assessments
[11 http://jarmin.com/demos/course/awaren Online materials for staff disability
] ess/index.html awareness
Resources located and evaluated by Joy Moloney, Janet Skinner and Jane Seale
Jane Seale, J.K.Soton.ac.uk Page 5
7.3 Guidelines, check-lists or audit tools
 http://www.glos.ac.uk/adu/clt/dcpd/guide.cfm Flexible online CPD course for staff.
Guide also available online with
checklists and questions to promote
 http://www.ncl.ac.uk/disability.services/postgradresearch/ Information was gathered from HE
research students from various
disciplines. Most felt that there was a
difference between being a disabled
undergraduate and a disabled research
Includes an audit tool for PG research
 www.plymouth.ac.uk/assets/SWA/sendadoc.pdf An audit and guidance tool for
accessible teaching and learning
Based on a consensus that for systemic
change to take place, current practice in
the broad areas of admissions,
accessible learning, teaching and
assessment for disabled students would
have to be targeted at all levels.”
 http://celt.tay.ac.uk/downloads/teachabilityaudit.doc Inclusive curriculum audit tool
developed by University of Abertay,
 http://aoa.ico3.com/resources/files/overviewcl.doc Action on Access Inclusion Checklists
 http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/icp/gdintro.htm Draft guides for inclusion in Geography
 http://www.fp.ucalgary.ca/stopracism/guidelin.htm Stop Racism/March 21 guidelines for
the inclusive curriculum
 http://mams.rmit.edu.au/6piqaoq65jko.pdf Curriculum check-list in the context of
race and culture
7.3 Subject Specific Resources
 http://www2.glos.ac.uk/gdn/index.htm Provides pedagogic resources for Geography,
Earth & Environmental Sciences in relation to
learning support for disabled students
undertaking fieldwork and related activities
Dissemination of Good Teaching, Learning &
Assessment Practices in Geography
 http://www.hull.ac.uk/pedds/documents/ HEFCE funded project offering best practice
FINALBestPracticeGuideMasterdocJun guidance in relation to disabled social work
e2005_000.pdf students and placement.
Offers Guidance for students, practice
assessors/teachers, academic staff and disability
 http://www.bdainternationalconference. Overview of the Dyslexia in HE Art and Design
org/2001/presentations/fri_s6_d_13.htm Project lead by Ann Brigden at The Surrey
Institute of Art & Design
Encourages academics to see issues presented
as opportunities for “creativity” in terms of
Jane Seale, J.K.Soton.ac.uk Page 6
 http://dart.lboro.ac.uk/ Focusing mainly on engineering & the built
environment, the aim of the DART Project was to
enhance the experience of disabled students by
enabling institutions, faculties, departments, and
individual members of staff to assess their current
level of provision - in relation to learning and
teaching - as it affects disabled students,
Offers guidance on how to make the curriculum
 http://www.mathtutor.ac.uk/ DVD-ROM resources for all students struggling
with maths. Includes ‘mini-tutorials’ downloadable
to I-pod. Particularly strong in multi-sensory
learning, using visual, auditory and ‘hands-on’
Developed and run by the same institutions as
Mathcentre, viz. Universities of Leeds,
Loughborough and Coventry and the Educational
Broadcasting Service Trust.
 http://www.kcl.ac.uk/teares/nmvc/ Interactive study skills website for student
studyskills/ nurses. It contains active learning materials
on study skills topics, including numeracy
 http://www.bris.ac.uk/pip/ Partners in Practice has created a
curriculum framework that embeds disability
equality in healthcare education, thereby
enabling future generations of health and
social care professionals to eliminate
disability discrimination from clinical
A. Inclusion Task Force
Jane Seale (Chair) Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator, School of Education
Anna Barney Director of FESM Foundation Year
Nick Hopkins School of Law
Joy Moloney Learning and Teaching Coordinator,
Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics
Deborah Page School of Management
Kevin Partington Assistant Director, Student Services
Geraldine Price School of Education
Lee Price School of Health Professions
Janet Skinner Head of Learning Differences Centre
Steve Tee Associate Director, Post Graduate Education and Clinical
Skills Development, School of Nursing & midwifery
Brian Webster Associate Director (Pre Qualifying Programmes), School
of Nursing and Midwifery
Sue White Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator, School of
Electronics & Computer Science
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