Overview of University's Commitment
The Equality Act 2010 introduced the notion of 'due regard'. As a public sector body the University must show due regard to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
Schools are required to include consideration of the duty to promote disability equality in the operation of their admissions processes and application of entry criteria, and to identify and assess the applicant's requirements in an effective and timely way, taking into account the applicant's views.
Policy for applications to the UK campuses
As part of this commitment, the University believes that admissions processes should be as equitable as possible for all students. All applications from candidates who have disclosed a disability will be considered in the same way as any other application and a decision will be made that is based upon the candidate’s academic merit and potential. The legislation with which the University's policy complies is now the Equality Act 2010 (replacing provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001) and this applies to both disabled students and applicants.
Applicants are encouraged to disclose a disability when they apply by completing the relevant section of their application form (Personal Details of the UCAS form, section 10 of the Postgraduate Application paper form, section 4 of the online Postgraduate application form).
The codes on the UCAS form for Disability/Special needs (including dyslexia)/medical condition box are:
A - No disability
B - You have a social/communication impairment such as Asperger's syndrome/other autistic spectrum disorder
C - You are blind or have a serious visual impairment uncorrected by glasses
D - You are deaf or have a serious hearing impairment
E - You have a long standing illness or health condition such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, chronic heart disease, or epilepsy
F - You have a mental health condition, such as depression, schizophrenia or anxiety disorder
G - You have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or AD(H)D
H - You have physical impairment or mobility issues, such as difficulty using your arms or using a wheelchair or crutches
I - You have a disability, impairment or medical condition that is not listed above
J - You have two more more impairments and/or disabling medical conditions
A code other than A means the applicant has indicated some form of disability (for the purposes of this function, dyslexia is included as a disability) and reasonable adjustments may be required.
Whilst the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) normally make it illegal to reject an applicant on the grounds of disability there are three instances in which a university can reject a disabled applicant if they have the entry criteria necessary and these are:
• overriding health and safety concerns;
• barriers resulting from professional requirements;
• necessary reasonable adjustments cannot be made.
Where an application made indicates a disability code other than A or G this application is referred by the Admissions Office to the Disability Support Team. The applicant’s requirements are considered and appropriate action is taken to ensure the applicant understands the support available. In some cases a meeting will be organised with the applicant and the School to explore such requirements and how these may be met. Following this meeting, support services will be put in place and reasonable adjustments made at the University to address barriers which disabled students may encounter in the learning, teaching and assessment environment and which may affect performance.
The Admissions Office will send a letter to all other applicants who have disclosed a disability and who Disability Support do not consider it necessary to meet. The letter is sent to those who have accepted conditional, unconditional and insurance offers, outlining services available at the University. A form is enclosed with the letter inviting the applicant to contact Academic or Disability Support with any requirements they may have.
Open Days or Interviews
Each School has a Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) to provide a point of reference, advice and guidance for members of staff and students in the school about disability issues and support. Admissions staff should check with applicants whether they have any individual requirements prior to the interview or Open Day, and may wish to seek guidance from the School’s DLO beforehand.
In certain situations, a Department or School will carry out its own admissions selection process, eg research degrees. In order to ensure that student performance at assessment is optimised and to comply with our legal obligations, any correspondence inviting potential students to an interview or assessment should always include the following text: "Please inform me as soon as possible if you have any individual requirements which need to be made for you because of a disability in order to attend the interview, eg ground floor interview room".
Academic or Disability Support may also be contacted before the visit if the candidate has any academic-related study requirements or issues relating to accommodation or transport prior to the student’s visit.
Upon offer of a place to study at the University, the applicant should be referred to the Disability Support Team as outlined above.