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It is unlawful to discriminate against disabled people, and since 2006 the legislation has required public bodies, including higher education institutions, to actively promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.

The law defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Long-term usually means 12 months or more but many are from the time of diagnosis.

Medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes are covered, as are fluctuating or progressive conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or motor neurone disease. Mental impairment includes mental health conditions such as bipolar or depression, learning difficulties such as dyslexia and autism. Cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV/Aids are covered, as well as severe disfigurement.

We are committed to the Social Model of Disability and recognise that the removal of the physical, emotional, social and attitudinal barriers that disable our students, staff and visitors is essential to progressing equality for disabled people.

The legislation includes a requirement to make reasonable adjustments if a disabled person would otherwise be placed at a substantial disadvantage. For students reasonable adjustments should be anticipatory.

The law around disability discrimination has been strengthened and extended by the Equality Act which came into force in October 2010. The Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013 removed barriers to public appointments including jury service. For changes to the legislation please see the briefing below:

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Framework and accompanying objectives shows how we intend to promote disability equality. We monitor disability and report annually on progress in our Diversity Annual Report.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People establishes internationally recognised benchmarks for disabled people's rights in all areas of life. The UK government ratified the Convention in July 2009.

Disability History Month runs from 22 November until 22 December each year, while the International Day of Disabled People has been celebrated on 3 December since 1992.

AccessAble Access Guide to the University

This is an online guide giving details about access to Staffordshire University's buildings and venues. The guide has been produced by award winning organisation AccessAble, formerly DisabledGo, and is extremely detailed. It is aimed at empowering disabled people to make their own informed decisions based on their own access requirements.

Disabled Students

Support for disabled students

AccessAbility Services aim to ensure that individual needs are met before starting a course, during a course of study and after graduation. A range of services are on offer including screening for dyslexia and support for mental wellbeing. AccessAbility Services at Stoke, on Leek Road, also houses the Regional Access Centre.

Careers

The Careers Centre offers a comprehensive service to disabled students looking for work. 

Assistive Technology

AccessAbility Services works closely with Digital Services who provide a range of services, equipment and support for disabled students. Training for enabling technology is also available, tel. 01782 294977 or email disability@staffs.ac.uk.

Disability Coordinators

Coordinating learning and teaching support for disabled students:

Finance

For general information on funding study, the DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) and other financial information for disabled people visit Disabled Students Allowance.

Disabled Employees

General support for disabled staff

You should initially talk to your line manager concerning any support needs you may have or adjustments that need to be made, including support for staff who have dyslexia. Human Resources and Organisational Development and Occupational Health may also be involved in advising and supporting you. Staff can also contact Equality and Diversity about disability issues and workplace adjustments.

Access to Work

This is a Government Scheme run by Jobcentre Plus. As well as giving advice and information to disabled people and employers, Jobcentre Plus pays a grant towards any extra employment costs that result from a person's disability.  Access to Work now also covers those on work experience. HR will help with applications for reasonable adjustments through Access to Work.

Health and Safety

  • PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans) should be discussed with your line manager at Induction.
  • HSE (Health and Safety Executive) - for general guidance on health and safety at work for disabled people.
  • NASDN - National Association of Disabled Staff Networks - a parent body of networks for disabled people working in HE.

Carers

Students who are carers should talk to their module or personal tutor or the Students' Union for advice and support.

Sources of support of carers