What is reasonable adjustment? Duties under the Equality Act 2010

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What is reasonable adjustment?
Duties under the Equality Act 2010
An education provider has a duty to make anticipatory ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure disabled students are not discriminated against.
There is a Duty to make reasonable adjustments
Where a disabled person is at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with people who are not disabled, there is a duty to take reasonable steps to remove that disadvantage by:-

  1. changing provisions, criteria or practices,

  2. altering, removing or providing a reasonable alternative means of avoiding physical features and

  3. providing auxiliary aids

Ref: Equality and Human Rights Commission (2014)
What should HEIs do?

  • consider how to deliver support to students requiring little Non-Medical help.

  • provide accessible accommodation as part of Equality Act

  • lessen the need for student consumables via DSA

What should staff do ?

  • consider course delivery

  • identify the students with additional support needs

  • refer to and use the Student Support Documents

  • lead inclusive practice with advice from Disability Assist

  • ensure personal tutors support students with additional needs and know where to refer them for additional support.

Embed inclusive practice through :-

  • Provision of notes, journals and PPT in advance of lectures

  • Increased use of assistive technology

  • Utilise e-books/video/e-lectures

  • Considering support requirements around fieldwork and laboratory practicals

  • Considerations around group work

  • Support from Library, TIS and DAS


  • All students provided with a course overview or ‘road-map’ for the whole course, in a format that is accessible to them. This includes reading lists.

  • Teaching materials used in the learning and teaching environment are inclusive by design and available in advance of teaching

  • Teaching is delivered in an inclusive manner and is accessible for students to access afterwards online

  • Appropriate academic and generic support with preparing coursework is available.

Access to lectures

  • All venues are accessible

  • Learning outcomes stated at the outset of each lecture

  • Lectures recorded and available to download from VLE or available in the library

  • Students allowed to make personal recordings of lectures

  • Single note-takers provided for each lecture where disabled students are attending.

  • Student helpers or support workers available to act as scribes where necessary

  • Multi-sensory presentation to appeal to all learning styles


  • Handouts available in advance on the DLE

  • Clear font used (e.g. Arial) of at least 12 point

  • Non-glare cream/ivory paper used for handouts

  • A clear structure provided which offers a simplified version of the lecture

  • Handouts with reading lists give library class/shelf number

Access to tutorials

  • Students able to make a sound recording of the tutorial if they find note-taking difficult

  • A summary of the tutorial made available on DLE

  • References to literature written down rather than given verbally and names of authors spelt out

  • SpLD students not be asked to read aloud (without prior preparation)

Reasonable adjustments in relation to coursework

  • Advanced timetables in course outlines to assist with planning

  • Tutors give written essay feedback in a word processed format especially if their handwriting is difficult to read, when requested

  • Tutors provide recorded comments for students, when requested

  • Flexible access to tutors for follow up questions

Time Limits on Coursework

  • A rigorous whole institution policy so that (all) students know what to expect

  • Communication between departments to establish agreed time-limits is essential

  • Departments ensure that deadlines for assignments are staggered

  • If departments offer joint courses, deadlines are checked with the co-operating department

  • Extensions are not be automatic but granted if applied for and

supported by a good case as with all extenuating circumstances
Individual reasonable adjustments

  • Specific colour paper used for handouts where recommended for a particular student

  • Mobility training

  • Orientation

Access to research

  • Named contact for disabled students in libraries to assist as necessary

  • Extended loans for library material

  • Provision of alternative format publications, free of charge, for disabled students where possible

Developing study skills

  • Named contact for disabled students in each academic department

  • Academic support available for all students in all academic schools

  • A dyslexia specialist available at each institution

  • Specialist one-to-one support for students with SpLDs available from the institution for one hour per week, per SpLD student

Access to IT and AT

  • Networked computer suites available for student use

  • Networked computers to have AT software installed as standard

  • Networked computers to have roaming profiles and facility to store student preferences

  • Quiet rooms available for priority booking by disabled students

  • AT trainers available in each institution

  • Free Wi-Fi available at different sites across institution

Practical studies

  • Practical support to be provided in workshops and laboratories, as required

Competence standards: An institution is not required to make any reasonable adjustments to the application of a competence standard.

A competence standard is an academic, medical or other standard applied for the purpose of determining whether or not a person has a particular level of competence or ability.

  • Institutions have genuine competence standards in place to ensure all candidates are able to demonstrate their ability in a particular area.

  • Institutions review entry, course and examination criteria to ensure they are not discriminatory and that appropriate anticipatory reasonable adjustments are in place.


  • Consideration of, and adjustment to, exam requirements where appropriate

  • Exam reader/scribe


  • Advance dates given for assessments.

  • Draft work accepted for checking well ahead of the deadline

  • Oral presentation of work allowed in the form of vivas, but both staff and students need training in the use of vivas to meet the learning outcomes of courses

  • When allowed, vivas recorded for external examiners

  • The option of students presenting coursework instead of doing examinations considered (but see competency standards)

  • Examinations with an open book or seen provision is considered

  • Audio or video presentations allowed for students who find direct presentation difficult (e.g. due to expressive language difficulties)

  • Mind mapped presentations may be acceptable for some assessment components

  • Practice assessment papers available with feedback and marked if requested

  • Projects and work of a more practical kind, may be acceptable alternatives to dissertations

  • Portfolios or presentations may be acceptable alternatives to essays

  • Short answer responses may be an acceptable alternative to essays in some contexts

  • The use of voice activated software allowed if needed

  • The use of text reading software, if needed

  • In examinations, students have additional time, and if necessary the use of information technology with the facility to change the background colour and font, access to large print versions of the questions and the services of a reader or amanuensis

  • All students have the opportunity to type exams

  • All alternative forms of assessment reviewed at Academic Progress Review Boards

Thursday, 17 March 2016

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