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					          School of Law
       Edinburgh University


        Teachability Report


Creating an accessible curriculum in
               LAW
  for students with impairments
Table of contents


1. Teachability report

          1. Introduction

          2. General; The school of Law at Edinburgh
          University
               a) The course
               b) the physical environment
               c) institutional responses

          3. The Law Curriculum
               a) point of first contact
               b) admission
               c) induction and flow of information
               d) studying law
               e) postgraduate Studies

          4 After Graduation

2. Summary: Recommendations and Risks

3: Appendix I: Procedures and lines of communication
1) Introduction
This report is the outcome of a series of consultations with teaching and
administrative staff in the School of Law, past and present students with
impairments, and university support staff. Results from a teachability session with
outside facilitators are also included. The School hopes to implement those
recommendations that are within its exclusive remit over the next year.
The School of Law at Edinburgh University has developed over the past four years
several policy documents and procedures providing support for students with
impairments. The research for this report analyses these procedures, the law
curriculum and the physical environment in the School of Law with reference to the
methodology developed in the SHEFC funded project Teachability: Creating an
accessible Curriculum for Students with Disabilities. One of hte main objectives of
the teachability project is to widen the focus of support for disabled students from
questions of physical access to that of curriculum content. To comply with the new
Disability Legislation, universities have to determine in advance which parts of the
curriculum are “core” and therefore not open to negotiation, and which parts of the
curriculum can be waived/replaced by other courses without endangering academic
standards. While issues of access can often be solved centrally by the university,
issues of curriculum content have to be discussed and decided on subject/department
level. The general approach was to use the Teachability material to audit existing
provision that aim to cater for students with a wide range of impairments. As a result
of this audit, a series of recommendations is put forward to revise the School strategy
to more effectively meet the educational requirements of students with impairments.
Where problems have been identified, but no recommendation to address it has so far
been put forward, or recommendations concern issues ultimately not controlled by the
School, this is noted as “risk” for the purpose of a risk assessment, which
complements the recommendations and actions by the School of Law. The category
of risk also takes into account the forward-looking, anticipatory duties under the new
disability act. The aim is to develop a holistic” approach to the support of students
with impairments, from the moment they first contact the School of Law as
prospective applicants to support given to alumni. The general outline of this report
tries to mirror this objective, following wherever possible a chronological structure
that follows the “university life” of a student with impairments. Those institutional
arrangements which impact on several stages of a student’s life are “put before the
bracket” at the beginning of the report. At the time of writing, the School of law had
just introduce a revised curriculum, and is facing considerable changes as a result of
the re-structuring of the university. As a result, some of the conclusions are highly
provisional in nature. No student has as yet completed the degree under the new
curriculum, and as a result, the empirical data gained from students with impairments
is to some extend already out of date. The impact that for instance the new
dissertation requirement (see below) will have on dyslectic students will only become
apparent in two years time. At the same time, some of the impairment sensitive
responsibilities of the School, in particular admission, but also some forms of
concessions1, are now being devolved to the college and some of the procedures put


1
  “concession” is the generic term used for any discretionary adjustment of rules and procedures in the
regulations of the School of Law that takes the individual circumstances of a student into account.
in place by the School of Law might become redundant as a result. These two changes
result the first recommendation:

Recommendation 1:
The School should conduct a second disability audit in 2-3 years time to
              a) compare the effectiveness of the new college based disability
                 procedures, in particular admission and concessions, with the
                 present school based policies, with a view of recommending
                 changes to the College or putting in place subsidiary policies
                 should the new system perform worse
              b) compare the performance of students with impairments under the
                 new curriculum with experience gained under the old curriculum




2. General: The School of Law at Edinburgh University

a) the courses
The School of Law at Edinburgh University teaches around 800 undergraduate
students and 100 postgraduate students. It offers a wide range of degree programmes:
     two year (accelerated) and three year LLB ordinary
     four year single honours LLB
     four year joint honours LLB(Law and German, economics etc etc)
     LLM and MSc (Criminology)
     PhD

In addition, the Law school is associated with the Legal Practice Unit, which offers
the diploma in Legal Practice. Because of the semi-autonomous nature of the LPU,
which includes a rather different admission protocol, this report does NOT cover the
Diploma. Potentially, the problems faced by the LPU are greater than that by the rest
of the law curriculum. The focus on practical skills results in the use of a
comparatively broader range of teaching methods, some of which (e.g. videos, life
debates) could cause problems for students with impairments. At the same time, the
professional bodies play a much more active role in the design of the Diploma
curriculum, reducing the flexibility of the LPU to accommodate students with specific
requirements.

Recommendation 2
It is recommended that either
a) the Disability officer of the School of Law, in consultation with the Director of the
LPU, extends the teachability audit to the Diploma and rewrites where necessary
existing School policies to have a uniform set of protocols for all students
or

While some reservation has been voiced on the connotations of this term, it is used here to link the
report directly to the relevant School regulations.
b) the LPU nominates a separate Disability officer to take account of the different
nature of teaching in the Diploma

Around 60% of law graduates chose a career in the legal profession, and most of the
undergraduate courses offered by the School fulfil the relevant criteria set by the
professional organisations. This creates a potential for conflict between the
professional requirements and adjustments made by the School of Law to create an
accessible curriculum. It is at least possible that the School grants in individual cases
concessions from the standard curriculum, which while allowing the student to
graduate with an LLB, do not fulfil Law Society requirements. From the material
made available by the Law Society, the greatest cause for concern is in the field of
dyslexia, and at least the Law Society of England makes explicit reference to the
linguistic skills they require. Professional requirements have a potential impact at
several stages of the legal education and will mostly be dealt with at the appropriate
sections below. However, there is a general need to take the opinion of the
professional bodies into account when designing an accessible curriculum, and hence

Recommendation 3
The School, through the Disability officer, should liase more closely with the
professional bodies to ensure that ideally, adjustments made by the School to
accommodate students with impairments do not preclude them from entering the legal
profession and where this is impossible, give clear indication of this to the student
when deciding an action plan for him/her

Risk 1
It is possible that existing and necessary adjustments for students with impairments,
especially dyslexia, are already now incompatible with requirements set by the
professional bodies.


b) the physical environment
The School of law is located in Old College, a listed building with limited disability
facilities. Lecture theatres, but not seminar rooms are fitted with induction loops to
support hearing aids. Some, but not all seminar rooms have Internet access. Access
for students with mobility impairments is a particular concern. Students have to
negotiate a temporary ramp (if the ramp is not in place, they can ring for assistance), a
small electric lift and then the main lift. The main lift in particular is highly
unreliable. In case of lift failure, the student is contacted as soon as possible to avoid
unnecessary journeys, and the lecture/seminar is recorded.

Recommendation 4:
The School should continue to apply for funding to replace the lift with a more
reliable model, ideally before 2005

Students with mobility impairments receive a special key that allows them to stop the
lift on the library floor. Where appropriate, students with impairments have also
reserved work places in the library. However, the upper level of the library remains
inaccessible. Students with impairments, the Disability Officer (DO) and library staff
device together strategies to make books accessible from this part of the library,
taking the individual condition of each student into account. In the past this has
included increased borrowing rights, extended use of the (accessible) short loan
collection and the “pre-ordering” books by email, which could then be collected,
from either the service desk or the DO by the student, or the student’s carer.
According to student feedback, the most efficient and flexible support however came
from other students, some of which took on a very active and labour intensive support
role.

Recommendation 5
The School should investigate the possibility to formally encourage and reward
student support groups for students with impairments. However, feedback should be
sought as to whether “official” support from other students has the same beneficial
effects as voluntary, unofficial and friendship-based support.

Since the restructuring of the administrative support of the School, all secretarial
offices are now accessible. (not however the Diploma secretariat, see above). Several
lecture theatres and seminar rooms and a large number of staff offices remain
however inaccessible. This can (and has) caused several problems. Some members of
staff distribute additional reading and photocopies from their doors. For these
situations, similar arrangements of the ones described above for library books have
been made. If a student with mobility impairment needs to speak to a member of staff
in an inaccessible office, the DO arranges a meeting in one of the administrative
offices on the ground floor.
The DO works closely with the teaching office to book accessible teaching rooms for
the courses chosen by the student as soon as possible, and preferential treatment is
given to students with impairments regarding the timetabling of tutorials, booking of
rooms and access to honours courses. In the first week of term, the DO accompanies
mobility-impaired students for a week, to ensure that transit between lecture rooms is
possible in the allocated time. These measures taken together have so far enabled the
School to arrange timetables where students are taught their courses of choice in
accessible rooms, with sufficient transit times. However, should the number of
students with mobility problems increase, especially across different years of the
degree, this can not any longer be guaranteed.

Risk 2
The School might not be able to accommodate larger numbers of students with
impairments in its present building

Recommendation 6
The School should investigate contingency plans with room booking services to
anticipate a scenario where present facilities in Old College are overstretched

Fire evacuation procedures are drawn up for students with impairments where
relevant. In most cases, this involves the designation and equipment of “safe havens”.
While this approach is made necessary by the peculiarities of Old College, it relies on
adequate response times by the fire service, something that can not always be taken
for granted as the recent strike action have shown. Emergency procedures put in place
during this time where highly ad-hoc and ultimately unsatisfactory.

Risk 3
Fire evacuation procedures for disabled students rely on short response times by the
fire services. Fire evacuation procedures in times e.g. of strike are unsatisfactory

Increasingly, the Law School has to make use of the larger lecture theatres in George
Square. Most of them are even less accessible than those in Old College. Most
problematically, many of them are in buildings with multiple occupancy, where so far
all attempts to establish clear lines of responsibility and communication, in particular
in regard of fire evacuation procedures, have failed. Procedures put in place in the
past have been stopgap, involving direct communication with servitors in these
buildings.

Recommendation 7
The School should press in the relevant college committees, in particular the risk
management committee, for a solution to the problem of multi-occupancy buildings
and the establishment of clear responsibilities and lines of communication.

Risk 4
At present, the Law School uses buildings over which it has no direct control, and
where lines of communication and responsibilities, in particular fire evacuation
procedures for students with impairments, are unsatisfactory.

Computing support: Of the two undergraduate microlabs in the School of Law, only
one is accessible for students with mobility problems. This lab is also used as teaching
lab, making is on times closed to the wider student community. Specialist software is
at present only available in the main library labs, but could be obtained without
problems should the need arise. Some of the needs of students with impairments can
only be partly accommodated in general access labs. Some students with epilepsy for
instance found it difficult to use the labs even if they personally were provided with
flat screens, due to the exposure to light from the other, traditional monitors.
Conversely, some of the support software (e.g. voice recognition software) can have
a negative impact on other users.

Recommendation 8
To set up a small additional (and accessible) microlab, where each workstation has
all the available support software, thus anticipating a wide range of impairments,
and where all monitors are using flat screens. To avoid stigmatising students with
impairments, this room should be open to all students in principle, , but a booking
system should ensure that disabled students have preferred access when the only
other accessible lab is closed for teaching.

Recommendation 9
The School should explore the possibilities of wireless networking to improve Internet
access to students with impairments.

c) institutional response to students with impairments
The main responsibility for students with impairments in the School of Law lies with
the Disability Officer (DO), supported by the widening participation officer in some
of the tasks. S/he is also conduit for the exchange of information between the School,
College and University. In particular, s/he represents the School in the relevant
university committees, distributes where appropriate information to the members of
the School, supports individual members in the School with advice on disability
related issues and has an input in teaching related projects in the Scholl which have a
disability dimension, as e.g. curriculum reform. The DO, together where appropriate
with the Health and Safety Officer, develops and updates procedures and lines of
communications for several impairments (Appendix 1), anticipating as much as
possible future needs based on experience of institutions which have catered in the
past for students with the respective impairment. These procedures are also included
in the School health and safety manual.
More controversially, the DO is also Director of Studies for students with
impairments. Students with impairments who have disclosed them in their application
are automatically assigned to the DO as DoS. If an impairment is
diagnosed/developed later in the course of their studies, students are given the choice
if they want to transfer as directees to the DO. The DO/DoS also has a normal
(marginally reduced, to account for the additional time needed to deal with students
with specific requirements) assignment of students to avoid ghettoisation.

The perceived advantage of this set-up is
a) experience and expertise is concentrated, avoiding the “small hospital problem”
(the more cases a doctor deals with, the better he is in treating new ones)
(b) to be able to make an overall assessment of the experience of disabled students as
a group (appendix 2). It allows for instance to analyse if a specific group of student
with impairments performs systematically worse than their peers, indicating a need
for the School to act. At present for instance, the students supervised by the DO
perform as good as (and if analysed by sub-groups, sometimes better) than the other
students supervised by him, taken as a group.
(c) to have a single point of reference for other university support services
The disadvantages are:
(d) disability might be seen as a non-issue by other members of staff
(e) emphasis of the special status of students with impairments (ghettoisation)
(f) excessive work for the DO (especially when dealing with students with mental
health problems)

Comparing feedback from student before and after the setting up of the unified post
indicates that they perceive the present solution as advantageous. Problem (d) will be
addressed to some extend in other parts of the report where involvement of the entire
staff of the School is discussed, for instance in identifying disabilities. Over the past
year, the DO received 9 requests for information by other teaching staff in the
School, and circulated three general interest items, indicating involvement of the
entire School. (e) is addressed by the fact that only around 15% of the directees of the
Disability DoS have impairments. Generally, it is seen as desirable to have as DO a
member of academic staff with broad experience of teaching across the range of
activities offered by the School, and with at least past experience as DoS. To address
(f), the school might want to consider

Recommendation 10
The School might consider separating the post of DoS with special responsibility for
disabled students and the post of DO. The DoS would concentrate on existing
disabled students (but still supervise the majority of them), the DO would concentrate
on anticipating future needs and play a role in committees in the school and the
university.
This could become particularly important if recommendation 11 is implemented. Over
the past year, the DO was also convenor of the computing committee. The
development of the school website and other computing provisions play a central role
in catering for disabled students, but the input of the DO in computing matters
happened by co-incidence, not design. Similarly, the computing convenor is ex officio
member of the undergraduate studies committee, but several contributions he made in
this committee were based on his function as DO. To ensure continuing input of a
disability perspective in curriculum design,

Recommendation 11
The DO should be ex officio member in the computing, undergraduate and
postgraduate studies committee to ensure continuing compliance of curriculum and
teaching support development with the disability act beyond this audit


3) The Law curriculum
This third section follows a student from first contact to postgraduate studies.

a) point of first contact and identification of students with
impairments .
Pre-application enquiries by students with disclosed impairments are routinely
directed to the DO. There is at present however no disability statement on the website,
and no specific contact given there.

Recommendation 12
The Website of the School should have a version of the University disability statement
on its admission website, and the DO as contact for disability related enquiries

Students can also disclose impairments on their UCAS form. Where this happens, the
students receive a letter from the DO as a first contact. The School believes that each
student with impairments has different needs, and therefore places a great emphasis
on individually agreed action plans which supplement the general procedures and
lines of communication described in appendix 1. These plans are formulated as early
as possible between the DO and the student.
While significant progress has been made to identify students with impairments as
early as possible, and to prepare for their needs in advance, several problems have
emerged while researching for this report. They typically concern students who are
not full time LLB student, but take law courses as outside subjects or as part of their
CPD. Conversely, Law students do sometimes take outside subjects, and there is no
established procedure to inform other departments in advance that they might have to
cater for a student with impairments. Quite often, this information only becomes
available in the first week of teaching. This also raises general issues of
“jurisdiction”.

Recommendation 13
“jurisdiction “ for students with impairments should be with the department or school
that offers the individual course - i.e. it is the task of the School of law to ensure that
students with impairments from other departments that take law courses as outside
subject get appropriate access to the teaching of this course. Conversely, Law can
reply that law students who take outside subjects are appropriately supported by the
host department.

Risk 5
There are no procedures in place that allow sufficient advanced planning if students
with impairments from other departments take Law as an outside subject, or if law
courses are taken as part of CPD. This can only be addressed at university level, but
no ideal solution has so far been proposed

Not all students will disclose impairments before admission, or develop impairments
later in their studies. Here, every member of staff has to play an important role in
identifying students in need of support and approach them in an appropriate way.
This can be particularly difficult with mental health issues, where the very nature of
the impairment might prevent the student from seeking support. Generally, the
research fro this report showed that
a) members of staff felt not confident in identifying students with impairments
b) did not know how to react if they felt that a student who did not actively disclose a
problem was nonetheless in need of support, (embarrassment factor)

In this field, the need for guidelines and training was most strongly felt, especially by
Directors of Studies.

Recommendation 14
The DO, together with the disability office, should organise courses to help Directors
of Studies to identify students with impairments, especially mental health problems,
and to take the appropriate action

At present, very little information is made available from the website that allows
students with impairments to decide in advance whether or not studying law (in
Edinburgh) poses problems for them. The School does not use its course websites for
recruitment purposes, and for intellectual property (IP) reasons, course websites that
give detailed information of methods of assessment, required reading etc are not
normally accessible from outside the university. Some of the necessary information is
intrinsic to the law curriculum and will be discussed below. However, there is a
general need to make more information available on the website to allow students
prior to application to gauge the requirements of studying law

Recommendation 15
The admission section of the website of the School of Law should post more detailed
information of the general requirements of studying law, including the typical forms
of assessment used, reading requirements and an indication of support and provisions
available to students with impairments

Attendance, while mandatory for some forms of teaching, is at present not policed,
and there are no negative sanctions for non-attendance. (this being at present under
revision for first and second year tutorials). While this does create flexibility for
students with certain impairments, it means that there is no adequate feedback for the
School to identify proactively students who develop health problems during their
course, unless they themselves disclose this fact - again something that might not be
possible for students in particular with mental health problems.

Recommendation 16
Directors of Studies should be made aware if students fail to attend significant parts
of their courses to establish a way of identifying students with developing
impairments. This can happen through attendance records for tutorials (year 1 and 2)
and seminars (year 3, 4 and postgraduate courses)

b) admission

Admission has so far been decided by the School, but will become a responsibility of
the College in the near future. No student so far has been rejected on grounds of
disability, and students with a wide range of disabilities have been admitted to the
school, including hearing, visual and mobility impairments and chronicle illnesses.
Dyslectic students are the largest group of students with disabilities at present,
followed by students with chronicle mental health problems. The overall rate of
completion has been similar to that of students without impairments, but only limited
data is available to decide if they also graduated with similar degree classifications
(records on the specific achievements of students with impairments are only produced
for the past three years). While no student has been rejected on disability grounds,
there is no documentation and formal procedure to ensure unbiased admission.

Recommendation 16
The number of applications by students with impairments should be documented, as
should the percentage of offers made to this group, either by the School or College
level.

c) Induction and flow of information
The School of Law firmly believes that students with impairments should not have to
negotiate support with individual course organisers or lecturers. A student with
impairments will discuss his/her needs with the Disability DoS. Quite often, the
student can make recommendations from past experience at school about effective
support. The procedure of learning law is not too different from experience the
student will have made with learning at school, and effective support there often
translates into effective support at university. In addition, the DO can make proposals
based on his experience with students with similar impairments, or request additional
information from the Disability Office of the university. The DO then contacts all
course organisers for the courses for which he has registered the student and put the
agreed action programme into place. This can involve e.g. special seating
arrangements, use/non-use of coloured papers, use of microphones/taping equipment
or early distribution of handouts. Wherever possible (and/or desired by the student)
this happens without disclosing the identity of the student. Course organisers will for
instance only be advised that they have a student with hearing impairment in their
lecture, and should use the microphone. Generally, the School tries to minimise
wherever possible the number of people who are made aware of the identity of a
student with impairments unless requested otherwise by that student (for instance to
ensure that appropriate first aid can be given to a student with illness). This also
means that the reason for adjustments (e.g. change in lecture theatre) are not
communicated to the course, and that special support is wherever possible delivered
outside teaching hours. For instance, a student who needs reading material in advance
should receive this through the DO, not in class. Students with impairments can give
constant feedback to the DO on the effectiveness of the support.

d) studying law
There are no intrinsic reasons why students with a wide range of impairments could
not complete successfully a degree in law at either undergraduate or postgraduate
level. As a subject, it is however highly word intensive and requires considerable
amounts of reading and writing, quite often under time pressure. This creates obvious
barriers for students with dyslexia. Because also of requirements by the professional
bodies, flexibility to reduce the amount of information a student has to process is
limited. During the first two years (which are in particular oriented towards
professional requirements), choice of subjects is very limited, while the honours years
allow considerable choice of subjects. However, teaching methods and delivery are
fairly homogenous across law subjects, and there is no reason why any specific
subject (say delict or property) should create problems not encountered in all other
law subjects too. This ensures that no student is barred from completing a law degree
just because his/her impairments make it difficult to complete one or two specific
mandatory subjects. In response to requirements unrelated to the Disability Act, in
particular QAA demands but also the need for teaching efficiency, the school has a
general policy to make extensive course guides and handouts available to students in
their ordinary years. Equally, material for tutorial teaching is made available centrally
and well in advance.

In the teachability audit, it transpired that this practice has also the effect to minimise
many problems students with impairments face, and allows to react well in advance to
problems. In particular, it allows students with dyslexia to manage their reading load.
For students in their honours years, the School recommends, but does not as yet
demand, that essential reading is made available in photocopied form at the beginning
of the academic year. If this policy is implemented, the problems for students with
reading impairments will be further reduced.


Recommendation 17
Course organiser should as best practice indicate essential and further reading in
their handouts. “Essential” should be constructed narrowly, using if necessary a
tripartite division “essential”, (or essential*) “important” and “further”

Recommendation 18
The admission section of the law website should give an indication of the minimum
amount of reading a student will have to expect.

Extensive use is made of online teaching tools. All courses provide course
information and handouts in electronic form. The DO ensures together with the
convenor of the computing committee that material on the website can be accessed by
students with impairments (e.g. compatibility with screen reading software) Printed
versions in large type are also available for students with visual impairments.
Additional course information is also made available electronically. It is possible to
scan additional documents should this become necessary. Each course has an online
discussion forum, which allows students who due to illness can’t physically attend
class to participate in course discussions. At present however, this possibility is in
many courses restricted to on campus users due to IP reasons.

Recommendation 19
To develop the website so that students with impairments can log onto the course
websites from home, using their Matriculation number as identifier for IP purposes.

The School of Law recognises that different students profit in different ways from
specific forms of teaching delivery. Some students profit most from oral delivery of
information (lectures), others from self-study and reading, or from active discussion
in small groups. Some students make heavy use of computing and the Internet, others
prefer the paper resources in the library. The general method of teaching deliver aims
to cater for all these different forms of learners. Student centred learning is
encouraged, and students are supposed to take responsibility for their own progress.
This is reflected in the typical forms of assessment, which focus on results at the end
of the course rather than the specific procedure of learning, and the flexible attitude
towards attendance. For the purpose of teachability, this creates considerable
flexibility and means for instance that a student who because of his/her impairment
profits less from lectures is in no different position from a student who because of
his/her preferred learning style relies more heavily on say the handouts provided with
the lecture. With some exceptions to be discussed below, this means that “subject
competency” (including here such transferable skills like analytical and conceptual
thinking, problem solving etc) is the only core of the law degree. Only students with
problems with several of the offered teaching delivery methods face more serious
problems.

However, the School of Law also recognises that passive knowledge of the law is
insufficient for a lawyer. The ability to communicate this knowledge, often in an
adversarial setting, and the ability to develop arguments and judge arguments made
by others is also a core requirement of the law degree. This is achieved through small
group teaching, where students can either actively participate in debates, or observe
others arguing (“vicarious learners”).
While the School is therefore flexible to accommodate students who because of
illness are temporarily prevented from attending classes, it does not offer a pure
distance learning course and considers the exposure to small group teaching core to
the law curriculum.

Field trips: A limited use of (non mandatory) field trips is made in some courses,
especially a court visit in first year, and a prison visit in some criminology courses.
While the courts in question have been checked for disabled access, this cannot
always be guaranteed in prison visits, also due to security concerns. For this reason,
filming is also not possible.

Recommendation 20
The DO should liase with the relevant course organiser to discuss possibilities for
disabled students to profit from prison visits. If no such solution can be found, this
information should be made explicit before students decide to take this course, and
that as an alternative, in any given year other courses in the field of criminology are
on offer that do not use field trips.
Mooting: a particularity studying law are moot competitions, organised by the Law
Student Society (which is not part of the student union) and supported by staff.
Participation in mooting is encouraged but not mandatory, and not formally assessed.
In a mooting competition, two parties argue a legal case under courtroom conditions.
This can cause problems for students with hearing or speech impairments. No
experience has been made to the extend in which these barriers can be overcome
through e.g. interpreters.

Recommendation 21
The DO should liase with the Law student Society to establish possible need for and
potential of Law School/University support to disabled students who want to
participate in mooting

Erasmus year: The School of Law participates in the Erasmus exchange programme,
and also has partner universities outside the EU. Students can apply for these
programmes in their third year of studies. Participation is encouraged but not
mandatory, and the number of places is limited and subject to competition (where
appropriate, impairment is taken into account as a mitigating element to assess the
level of achievement of the competing students). There is no systematic knowledge
available of the level of support for disabled students in our partner universities
(though the Canadian and US partners probably exceed the service provided by
Edinburgh) Where students with disabilities applied in the past, the DO contacted the
chosen university to ascertain if sufficient support is available. So far, this was always
the case., but experience is limited. In particular, there is no clear procedure for
students who need the support of a carer.

Recommendation 22
The DO should contact our partner universities and collect the information on
disability support offered by them. Since some of our partner universities offer
support on a level compatible with, if not exceeding, Edinburgh, students with
impairments should have preferential choice of these universities. Prospective new
partners to the scheme should submit information about their support of disabled
students as part of decision if they are acceptable. The (financial) situation for
students who are provided with a carer in Edinburgh and who want to study abroad
should be clarified.

Assessment and degree classification: Assessment at the School of Law is primarily
through essays and exams, including a dissertation project.               Students with
impairments can get extra time for exams, and a range of other support services
arranged by registry, including special accommodation, computers and scribes, can be
made available. The School also has some discretion in extending deadlines for most
essays, subject to the limits by which final results have to be recorded.

Exceptions to this rule are the “take home” exams that are used in some first year
courses. Here, students get a quite considerable reading/research assignment and
have to produce a written answer in very short (typically 48 hours) time. In some
cases, they also have to sit an unseen examination after this preparation period. There
is no automatic procedure to take the needs of in particular dyslectic students into
account. The pedagogical aim of this form of examination is to mirror as closely as
possible the real life demands of a law firm, where the timetabling of the court
hearing often requires to process large amounts of information in very short (and
often non-negotiable) time. This exam carries relatively little weight for the overall
course result (20%) and it might be that it is a price worth paying to give all students,
including students with impairments, an indication of the demands of certain typical
career choices. While this might be sufficient reason to justify the rigid attitude
towards this exam, alternative responses should at least be investigated

Recommendation 23
The DO should liase with course organisers of those courses that use take home
exams to establish if alternative arrangements for students with impairments are
possible without compromising the intended examination outcome.

 For exams in the first two years, a resit is offered in September, and students with
impairments can where appropriate decide to sit only the September diet in some of
their subjects, stretching as a result the examination period. (Although they won’t be
offered a resit if they sit the September examination as “first attempt”) Postgraduate
degrees, but not the undergraduate programme, can also be studied on a part time
basis, extending examination periods. Examiners are made routinely aware of an
exam/essay was produced by a student with Dyslexia while maintaining anonymity,
and in these cases, spelling mistakes are not taken into account. Other information
that might affect the examination is provided by the DO to the appropriate board of
examiners. The DO/disability DoS also supplies information to the committee that
scrutinises extenuating circumstances before classification of degrees is decided by
the School.


e) Postgraduate Studies

Teaching delivery in the taught LLM/MSc does not differ significantly from teaching
at undergraduate level. Some of the recommendations made above however need
marginally different actions, for instance in making available information on the
website for prospective students.
Some students on the Master and PhD programme chose projects that are fieldwork
based. While this decision would normally be made taking existing impairment into
account, the School should anticipate its response if a student accepted to a project
that requires fieldwork develops an impairment during the course of the project.


4 After graduation
Responsibility for students does not end at the moment of graduation. In particular
writing of references can continue long after a student has left Edinburgh University.
Some employers require explicitly information about illness. In other cases, a referee
may feel that he concessions granted to a student with impairment indicate that he/she
will face substantial difficulties in fulfilling the professional role for which a reference
is sought. Other questions are of a more pragmatic nature. If the student agrees, is it a
good strategy to inform prospective employers that in the opinion of the referee, the
results achieved by the student do not reflect his/her true potential due to impairment
suffered during the studies (but potentially now overcome)?
Recommendation 24
The DO should organise a seminar for all staff on reference writing for disabled
students, possibly as part of a general seminar on this topic. Written guidelines
should result from this seminar
Summary: Recommendations and risks
                          List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1:
The School should conduct a second disability audit in 2-3 years time to
              c) compare the effectiveness of the new college based disability
                  procedures, in particular admission and concessions, with the
                  present school based policies, with a view of recommending
                  changes to the College or putting in place subsidiary policies
                  should the new system perform worse
              b) compare the performance of students with impairments under the
              new curriculum with experience gained under the old curriculum

Recommendation 2
It is recommended that either
a) the Disability officer of the School of Law, in consultation with the Director of the
LPU, extends the teachability audit to the Diploma and rewrites where necessary
existing School policies to have a uniform set of protocols for all students
or
b) the LPU nominates a separate Disability officer to take account of the different
nature of teaching in the Diploma

Recommendation 3
The School, through the Disability officer, should liase more closely with the
professional bodies to ensure that ideally, adjustments made by the School to
accommodate students with impairments do not preclude them from entering the legal
profession and where this is impossible, give clear indication of this to the student
when deciding an action plan for him/her

Recommendation 4:
The School should continue to apply for funding to replace the lift with a more
reliable model, ideally before 2005

Recommendation 5
The School should investigate the possibility to formally encourage and reward
student support groups for students with impairments. However, feedback should be
sought as to whether “official” support from other students has the same beneficial
effects as voluntary, unofficial and friendship-based support.

Recommendation 6
The School should investigate contingency plans with room booking services to
anticipate a scenario where present facilities in Old College are overstretched

Recommendation 7
The School should press in the relevant college committees, in particular the risk
management committee, for a solution to the problem of multi-occupancy buildings
and the establishment of clear responsibilities and lines of communication.
Recommendation 8
To set up a small additional (and accessible) microlab, where each workstation has
all the available support software, thus anticipating a wide range of impairments,
and where all monitors are using flat screens. To avoid stigmatising students with
impairments, this room should be open to all students in principle, , but a booking
system should ensure that disabled students have preferred access when the only
other accessible lab is closed for teaching.

Recommendation 9
The School should explore the possibilities of wireless networking to improve internet
access to students with impairments.

Recommendation 10
The School might consider separating the post of DoS with special responsibility for
disabled students and the post of DO. The DoS would concentrate on existing
disabled students (but still supervise the majority of them), the DO would concentrate
on anticipating future needs and play a role in committees in the school and the
university.

Recommendation 11
The DO should be ex officio member in the computing, undergraduate and
postgraduate studies committee to ensure continuing compliance of curriculum and
teaching support development with the disability act beyond this audit


Recommendation 12
The Website of the School should have a version of the University disability statement
on its admission website, and the DO as contact for disability related enquiries

Recommendation 13
“jurisdiction “ for students with impairments should be with the department or school
that offers the individual course - i.e. it is the task of the School of law to ensure that
students with impairments from other departments that take law courses as outside
subject get appropriate access to the teaching of this course. Conversely, Law can
rely on it that law students who take outside subjects are appropriately supported by
the host department.

Recommendation 14
The number of applications by students with impairments should be documented, as
should the percentage of offers made to this group, either at School or College level.

Recommendation 15
The admission section of the website of the School of Law should post more detailed
information of the general requirements of studying law, including the typical forms
of assessment used, reading requirements and an indication of concessions available
to students with impairments
Recommendation 16
Directors of Studies should be made aware if students fail to attend significant parts
of their courses to establish a way of identifying students with developing
impairments. This can happen through attendance records for tutorials (year 1 and 2)
and seminars (year 3, 4 and postgraduate courses)

Recommendation 17
Course organiser should as best practice indicate essential and further reading in
their handouts. “Essential” should be constructed narrowly, using if necessary a
tripartite division “essential”, (or essential*) “important” and “further”

Recommendation 18
The admission section of the law website should give an indication of the minimum
amount of reading a student will have to expect.

Recommendation 19
To develop the website so that students with impairments can log onto the course
websites from home, using their Matriculation number as identifier for IP purposes.

Recommendation 20
The DO should liase with the relevant course organiser to discuss possibilities for
disabled students to profit from prison visits. If no such solution can be found, this
information should be made explicit before students decide to take this course, and
that as an alternative, in any given year other courses in the field of criminology are
on offer that do not use field trips.

Recommendation 21
The DO should liase with the Law student Society to establish possible need for and
potential of Law School/University support to disabled students who want to
participate in mooting

Recommendation 22
The DO should contact our partner universities and collect the information on
disability support offered by them. Since some of our partner universities offer
support on a level compatible with, if not exceeding, Edinburgh, students with
impairments should have preferential choice of these universities. Prospective new
partners to the scheme should submit information about their support of disabled
students as part of decision if they are acceptable. The (financial) situation for
students who are provided with a carer in Edinburgh and who want to study abroad
should be clarified.

Recommendation 23
The DO should liase with course organisers of those courses that use take home
exams to establish if concessions for students with impairments are possible without
compromising the intended examination outcome.

Recommendation 24
The DO should organise a seminar for all staff on reference writing for disabled
students, possibly as part of a general seminar on this topic. Written guidelines
should result from this seminar
                                  List of Risks

Risk 1
It is possible that existing and necessary adjustments for students with impairments,
especially dyslexia, are already now incompatible with requirements set by the
professional bodies.

Risk 2
The School might not be able to accommodate larger numbers of students with
impairments in its present building

Risk 3
Fire evacuation procedures for disabled students rely on short response times by the
fire services. Fire evacuation procedures in times e.g. of strike are unsatisfactory

Risk 4
At present, the Law School uses buildings over which it has no direct control, and
where lines of communication and responsibilities, in particular fire evacuation
procedures for students with impairments, are unsatisfactory.

Risk 5
There are no procedures in place that allow sufficient advanced planning if students
with impairments from other departments take Law as an outside subject, or if law
courses are taken as part of CPD. This can only be addressed at university level, but
no ideal solution has so far been proposed
Appendix I
                       Procedures and lines of communication
                             Students with disabilities 1
                          Students with mobility problems



Before Term:

Disability office, DoS, Faculty Officer and buildings and estates visit building with
student to set up an action plan

DoS, in liaison with teaching office, supplies timetable to disability office for
appointment of a carer if one is necessary.

DoS (HoD if fire plan needs changing), Disability office, fire steward and student
meet to discuss fire evacuation procedure.

DoS , and disability office identify and liase with person responsible if any teaching
is carried out outside Old College, (David Hume Tower), and ensure safe fire
evacuation procedures are in place

DoS liases with Health and Safety officer for updating on special requirements

DoS liases with Faculty officer, disability office and janitors to ensure necessary
technical equipment is in place and functional

DoS liases with Faculty Officer and Janitors to ensure student is issued with necessary
keys to guarantee access to library (lift), microlab and lecture theatres 207ff


First two weeks of term

Teaching office updates DoS with information on room bookings and tutorials. DoS
visits all lecture rooms outside Old College to ensure accessibility. DoS also ensures
that student knows fire evacuation procedures for these buildings

DoS informs all course organisers, and, where possible, tutors of courses taken by
disabled student about special requirements.

DoS ensures that all lecture theatres and tutorial rooms can be entered and left safely.
S/he organises, if necessary, rebookings or swap of venues. Wherever possible,
disabled students have priority for tutorial sign up.
DoS follows student during the first two weeks to ensure that transit between teaching
venues can be managed in time and without safety risks. DoS organises if necessary
change of venue/timetable

DoS, student and library staff meet to ensure that a seat is reserved for student where
s/he can use any relevant technical support equipment. Where appropriate, special
borrowing arrangements are put in place. For larger numbers of affected students,
DoS organises with disability office and student society support groups for special
times of the week


During terms

DoS liases with disability office and student on all problems occurring, changes in
University procedures, available University support, worsening of the condition of
student, and takes appropriate action.

If transit to and from University is a problem, teaching office and/or affected
colleagues inform DoS about cancellations of teaching. DoS informs student and carer

Janitors inform DoS about temporary inaccessibility of any teaching venues (e.g. lift
failure). If this is only for a day, DoS informs student and carer and ensures with
janitors that alternative means of instruction are made available to student (tape
recording of lecture, video recording if no objection from lecturer etc., photocopies of
lecture notes by other directee) DoS liases with lecturer to make teaching material
(handouts, overheads etc.) available to student, preferably as e-mail or on the faculty
webpages.

If the problem is long term, DoS ensures with Disability Office that alternative venue
is found, or, if this is impossible, other means of instruction can be arranged (e.g.
video transmission of lecture to other rooms

Examination time

DoS liases with Registry to ensure that the special examination rooms can be entered
and left safely, student is aware of fire evacuation procedures for this building, and
that all relevant technical support can be used in this building.



                      Procedures and lines of communication
                            Students with disabilities 2
                         Students with visual impairment



Before Term:

Disability office, DoS, Faculty Officer and buildings and estates visit building with
student to set up an action plan
DoS, in liaison with teaching office, supplies timetable to disability office for
appointment of a carer if one is necessary.
DoS (HoD if fire plan needs changing), Disability office, fire steward and student
meet to discuss fire evacuation procedure.

DoS , and disability office identify and liase with person responsible if any teaching
is carried out outside Old College, (David Hume Tower), and ensure safe fire
evacuation procedures are in place

DoS liases with Health and Safety officer for updating on special requirements

DoS liases with Faculty officer, disability office and janitors to ensure necessary
technical equipment is in place and functional

First two weeks of term

DoS informs all course organisers, and, where possible, tutors of courses taken by
disabled student about special requirements.

DoS ensures that all lecture theatres and tutorial rooms can be entered and left safely.
S/he organises, if necessary, rebookings or swap of venues. Wherever possible,
disabled students have priority for tutorial sign up.

DoS follows student during the first two weeks to ensure that transit between teaching
venues can be managed in time and without safety risks. DoS organises if necessary
change of venue/timetable

DoS, student and library staff meet to ensure that a seat is reserved for student where
s/he can use any technical support equipment. Where appropriate, special borrowing
arrangements are put in place.


During terms

DoS liases with disability office and student on all problems occurring, changes in
University procedures, available University support, worsening of the condition of
student, and takes appropriate action.

Examination time

DoS liases with Registry to ensure that the special examination rooms can be entered
and left safely, student is aware of fire evacuation procedures for this building, and
that all relevant technical support can be used in this building.




                      Procedures and lines of communication
                           Students with disabilities 3
                           Students with hearing problems

Before Term:

Student registers with disability office, which can request meting with DoS, Faculty
Officer meet with student to set up an action plan. This will normally only be the case
if student has severe hearing impairment.

DoS, in liaison with teaching office, supplies timetable to disability office for
appointment of a translator/notetaker if necessary

DoS (HoD if fire plan needs changing), Disability office, fire steward and student
meet to discuss fire evacuation procedure. Special care should be taken for acoustic
fire warning. Can student hear them? If not, alternative alarms should be considered

DoS , and disability office identify and liase with person responsible liase if any
teaching is carried out outside Old College, (David Hume Tower),

DoS liases with Health and Safety officer for updating on special requirements

DoS liases with Faculty officer and janitors to ensure necessary technical support
equipment is in place and functional. S/he insures that induction loop facilities are
compatible with hearing aids used by student, and can request that lecturers make use
of the microphone that activates the loop.

First two weeks of term

DoS informs all course organisers, and, where possible, tutors of courses taken by
disabled student about special requirements. DoS liases with library staff to ensure
that where appropriate, special borrowing conditions are put in place

During terms

DoS liases with disability office and student on all problems occurring, changes in
University procedures, available University support, worsening of the condition of
student, and takes appropriate action.

DoS liases with lecturers to make teaching material, wherever it can be substituted for
oral delivery, available to students, preferably as e-mail or on the faculty webpages

Examination Period

DoS liases with Registry and Disability office to ensure that all technical support
equipment, where appropriate, can be used in this room

				
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