SFC Learning For All Conference March 2010

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SFC Learning For All Conference March 2010

  1. 1. <ul><li>SFC Learning For All Conference March 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Widening Access and Equality : What can we learn from the experiences of disabled students in Scottish universities? </li></ul><ul><li>Sheila Riddell, </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity, </li></ul><ul><li>University of Edinburgh </li></ul>
  2. 2. Equality Policy in Scotland <ul><li>Scottish Government : Commitment to tackling ‘significant inequalities’ in Scottish society </li></ul><ul><li>But uncertainty about concept of equality – may refer to equality of opportunity, process or outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Also, may emphasise redistribution or recognition (Fraser and Honneth) </li></ul><ul><li>In this presentation, equality in access to higher education examined through lens of disability </li></ul>
  3. 3. Central questions <ul><li>What progress has been made by disabled people in accessing higher education over the past decade? </li></ul><ul><li>Do disabled people enjoy equal access to higher education compared with their non-disabled peers? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the main factors affecting their chances of entering higher education? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the additional barriers faced by disabled people once they are in higher education? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the prospects for the future? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Proportion of disabled students in Scottish higher education doubled over a decade 2000/01: 3.7% 2008/09: 7%
  5. 5. Policy drivers <ul><li>Campaigns by individual disabled people & Skill </li></ul><ul><li>Funding Mechanisms - Disabled Students Allowance & Premium Funding </li></ul><ul><li>Extension of DDA to education in 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>Public sector duty to promote disability equality </li></ul><ul><li>Quality agenda and accountability regimes </li></ul>
  6. 6. But major inequalities remain: Students with diagnosis of dyslexia represent large majority Decline in proportion of students with most significant impairments Under-representation of people with mental health difficulties 0.7% - Autistic spectrum disorder 10.5% 10% Other disability 7.5% 5% Multiple disabilities 17% 53% Unseen disability 4.6% 2% Mental health difficulties 0.1% 0.1% Personal care support 2.8% 6% Wheelchair/mobility difficulties 4% 6% Deaf/hard of hearing 2.4% 4% Blind/partially sighted 50% 15% Dyslexia 2004/05 1994-95 Type of disability
  7. 7. Middle class disabled people much more likely to access higher education - 80% of students at pre-92 universities from middle class backgrounds; 19% from working class backgrounds – similar pattern for disabled and non-disabled students
  8. 8. But pupils with additional support needs much more likely to live in areas of social deprivation Figures include pupils recorded as having RoN, CSP and/or IEP in Scotland, 2008. 1= least deprived area, 10 = most deprived area
  9. 9. Social class most strongly associated with learning disability and social, emotional & behavioural difficulties – largely excluded from higher education Figures include pupils recorded as having RoN, CSP and/or IEP in Scotland, 2008. 1= least deprived area, 10 = most deprived area
  10. 10. SES strongly associated with achievement Average tariff score of S4 pupils by deprivation status, 2005/2006 Source SE 2007
  11. 11. Access for disabled people into higher education – overall success story – but reflects and intensifies wider social inequalities <ul><li>Disabled students now make up 7% of all undergraduates (3.7% in 1995) – represents policy success </li></ul><ul><li>But infused by wider social inequalities – majority (50%+) are male students from middle class backgrounds with dyslexia. Decline in proportion with more significant impairments </li></ul><ul><li>Disabled students less likely to come from minority ethnic backgrounds </li></ul>
  12. 12. Issues facing disabled students in HE <ul><li>Access to premises, and teaching and learning, constant struggle. </li></ul><ul><li>Managing identity - particularly difficult during periods of transition </li></ul><ul><li>Particular issue for disabled students seeking to enter professions. </li></ul><ul><li>Low participation rates in vocational courses (e.g. medicine, dentistry, teaching, social work, nursing) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Access to teaching – disabled people make up 2% of students on Education courses, but around 1% of teaching profession
  14. 14. Conclusions <ul><li>Widening access for disabled people into higher education should be seen as success story. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflects interaction between Government policy and campaigning by disabled people and voluntary organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>Extension of disability equality legislation to higher education major influence </li></ul>
  15. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>Disabled students (and others) experience deficits in relation to both redistribution and recognition </li></ul><ul><li>Far more support needed to assist pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (strongly associated with social class) to access HE </li></ul><ul><li>Rejection of disabled identity on entering labour market indicates persistence of stigma and discrimination </li></ul>

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