admissionsdisabilityguide by ck4p0w


									           The National Co-ordination Team for Widening Participation

      Disability FOCUS Guide

This guide is of use to managers of admissions processes and activities and their staff,
including those involved with co-ordinating and delivering clearing. It is also relevant to
staff responsible for organising open days and student ambassador schemes, international
officers, marketing units and disability and learning support advisers.

The term ‘Admissions’ used in this guide refers to all aspects of the process of application
to courses of post-16 education and associated activities. This includes activities that
admissions and clearing staff are involved in when recruiting and admitting applicants,
such as open and taster days, pre-entry events, help and enquiry lines, interviews,
auditions, pre-entry testing and the provision of admissions information and application
Many institutions invite disabled applicants in to familiarise themselves with the institution
and its staff, and to discuss support needs and adjustments to the learning environment, at
some stage during the application procedure. These activities are referred to as
information visits.

Considering the statements below will help staff to plan, organise and deliver accessible
and inclusive admissions provision and activities for disabled people.

A.       Strategy, policy and procedures

B.       Physical environment, facilities and equipment

C.       Information

D.       Competency and professional body standards

E.       Admissions activities and the application process

F.       Confidentiality

G.       Staff development

H.       Monitoring, evaluation and complaints

A.       Strategy, policy and procedures
Always take into account disabled applicant issues when writing, reviewing and approving
admissions policies, procedures and practices.

Ensure there is a specific policy, or section within a policy, that clearly states the
institution’s approach to disability equality and how applications from disabled people are
treated. Publicise this statement in admissions material.

Always consider disability issues in committees or working groups when planning and
reviewing admissions activities. Ensure disabled people and/ disability and learning
support professionals are consulted as part of this process.

Assess the impact of any planned changes in admissions policies, procedures and
practices in relation to disability equality, and as part of this process consult disability
specialists and disabled people.

Set aside or make funding available so accessibility is ensured for disabled people in all
admissions processes and activities. Make sure staff know about and are able to access
this funding should it be needed to provide adjustments such as:
        Support workers for applicants; e.g. BSL interpreters or mobility guides.
        Enabling or additional equipment; e.g. hearing loops or text phones.
        Information and forms in alternative and accessible formats, both paper-based and
         electronic, including on-line application forms or tests.
        Accessible transport if transfer between venues is required.

        Accessible venues for events such as interviews and open days.
        Trained staff at events able to appropriately meet the needs of disabled applicants.


SPA recommendations on good practice for applicants with disabilities
Original Source SPA 2011

B.       Physical environment, facilities and equipment
Make sure venues and facilities used in admissions activities, such as front desks, help
and enquiry lines, taster events and interview venues, meet the access requirements of
disabled people including potential students and their parents or carers. For example, that
they are:
        Accessible for wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties.
        Provided with hearing loops and acoustically suitable for people with a hearing loss.
        Appropriately signed and lit for people with visual difficulties.

If an admissions venue or facility is not accessible organise an alternative or make
arrangements to provide equivalent access for disabled people elsewhere; e.g. Deaf
applicants can use email or SMS to contact admissions staff or clearing advisers instead
of the telephone.

Put arrangements in place to assure the health and safety and emergency evacuation of
disabled people during admissions activities.


Accessible Events: A guide
Word or PDF
Original Source NDT JISC TechDis 2005

C.       Information
Ensure all information and materials used in admissions can be made available in
alternative and accessible formats. For example they:
        Are written in plain English and are designed and formatted according to
         accessibility guidelines.
        Can be provided in Braille, large print or audio versions.
        Are accessible electronically (including application processes, entry tests and
         forms) and comply with accessibility guidelines published by the World Wide Web
         Consortium (W3C).

Provide information at all stages of admissions, as well as prior to interview, auditions or
assessments, and at clearing, about disability or learning support services, including
details of contacts and the institutional and external support and funding available.

Post in an accessible way on web sites, or in print, clear information about course
requirements. This will help inform their choices and pre-entry planning. For example,
details are provided of any field trips, placements, years abroad and teaching, learning and
assessment methods so the applicant understands the demands of the programme and
can discuss support options with disability or learning support advisers and academic staff
if they wish to.


How to write in Plain English                    TechDis Guidance Accessibility
Original Source Plain English Campaign 2009      Original Source JISC TechDis 2010

D.       Competency and professional body standards
Make admissions staff and disabled applicants aware of any competency or ‘fitness to
practice’ standards that are applied to entry criteria which might affect the success of an
application from a disabled person.

Monitor applications to ensure professional body ‘fitness to practice’ standards and
competency standards are being applied appropriately in relation to disabled applicants.
For example, give consideration to how occupational health assessments are affecting
disabled applicant admissions to programmes and if the process is creating unnecessary
barriers to study.

E.       Admissions activities and the application process
Make clear to staff and pupils in schools and colleges that disabled people are welcome to
attend admissions events and to apply to study at the institution; e.g. include specific
statements and information about disabled student study and success during outreach
activities, such as quotes from successful disabled students.

Put arrangements in place to ensure that reasonable adjustments required by disabled
applicants can be made to any interview and audition process or pre-entry testing and
ensure that:

        The method of assessment used is accessible to disabled people.
        An assessment of the impact on disabled people has been conducted to ensure the
         process does not inadvertently disadvantage disabled applicants.
        Reasonable adjustments are made where possible. NB adjustments should not be
         made to competency standards.

Give disabled applicants an opportunity to discuss support available to them at the
institution at some stage during the application process. Involve disability or learning
support advisory staff in these discussions if appropriate; e.g. invite disabled applicants to
information visits to discuss their potential support requirements.

Put systems in place to ensure that disabled applicants are considered fairly during the
clearing process.

Make sure there are appropriate systems in place to identify the support needs of disabled
applicants arriving from other countries.


International students with disabilities in
Higher Education: notes on good practice
Original Source UKCOSA & Skill 2005

F.       Confidentiality
Make sure admissions procedures, forms and staff convey an image of the institution
where people believe it is safe to disclose a disability; e.g. forms explain that disability
disclosure is encouraged so support can be provided, and staff provide confidential
opportunities for people to discuss disability-related issues.

Encourage applicants to disclose a disability and offer a range of appropriate opportunities
to do so; e.g. at enquiry, during visits and open days, prior to interview or audition and at
the application stage.

Ensure staff know what action to take if an individual discloses a disability or additional
requirements to them prior to or during an admissions activity.
Make sure staff involved in admissions activities are aware of, and able to effectively
apply, the institution’s systems for sharing confidential information about disabled
applicants. For example, staff should know how an applicant’s confidentiality can be

preserved if a disabled person does not wish information about their impairment to be
passed to staff in the academic department they are applying to.


Finding Out About People’s Disabilities
Original Source DFES 2002

G.       Staff development
Provide disability equality training for all admissions staff (including for ‘front-line’ staff,
those involved in clearing, and student ambassadors) so they understand their
responsibilities and the legal context.

Relevant admissions staff, including those involved in clearing and international student
applications, should be trained and equipped to provide up to date advice about:

        The support for disabled students available at the institution.
        Relevant bursaries, fees, loans and grants and how study could impact on a
         disabled person’s benefits, as well as about funding and allowances available only
         to disabled students.

Train ‘front-line’ staff and clearing advisers in communicating effectively with, and
welcoming, disabled people.

Enquiry lines with text phone numbers should be staffed by people who have had training
in the use of these devices.


DEMOS briefing on admissions:                Inclusive Recruitment and Selection
Original Source DEMOS 2005                   Original Source University of Westminster 2009

H.       Monitoring, evaluation and complaints
Make sure the provision of services and facilities for disabled applicants at admissions is
monitored and reviewed and that the views of disabled applicants and students are
collected and included in this process; e.g. partnerships are formed with local or regional
organisations of and for disabled people and they are then involved in admissions reviews.

Collect and monitor data on the number of disabled applicants; e.g. compare application to
and acceptance onto courses in specific subject areas by impairment. (NB Many disabled
people fear that disclosure at the application stage will affect their chances of success,
particularly for professional programmes leading directly to employment, and as a result
they may not disclose a disability.)

If audits with a disability focus have been undertaken within the institution, ensure relevant
outcomes are communicated to and actioned by staff with responsibility for admissions.

Ensure all staff with responsibility for admissions are familiar with the institution’s
procedures for resolving disability related complaints, and cases of potential harassment
or discrimination.

                       9 & 10

QAA Code of practice Disabled Students                  Graphs from UCAS data sets
Original Source QAA 2010                                Original Source AonA 2011

This guidance was produced and designed by Tina
Elliott and Martin Murphy for Action on Access
For further information about Action on Access please

For all your disability education resources
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