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Inclusive learning, the Equality Act, and Reasonable Adjustments

David Hewlett, Queen's Foundation

Initial Description

‘Inclusive learning’ is being promoted within the HE sector because it enables the full participation of all students. Although broader than this, it is deemed to be the best way to ensure that institutions are proactive about their duties in relation to the Equality Act (EA). It therefore clarifies how institutions should fulfil their anticipatory duties and thus mitigate the risk in the managing reasonable adjustment processes.
TEIs probably embrace the principles of inclusive learning but may not have developed these in relation to the EA. TEIs should be aware of the duties of the EA but with limited specialist resources, they may be unclear about, or have under-developed, policies and practices regarding anticipatory and reasonable adjustments. Since the onus is on the TEI to justify its approach to reasonable adjustments rather than on the student to justify a request, TEIs need to develop consistent policies and responses in this area. By gathering information from TEIs about their understanding and practices, by sharing and reflecting on experience, and by seeking expert advice, this project aims to develop good practice in ways that are consistent across TEIs and to support the work of Ministry Division in the funding implications of these developments. Finally, by modelling good practice TEIs will also be helping potential ministers and leaders to model similar practice.