Policy

Base level provision – published in 1999 and commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales, this document became a seminal paper for many staff working within HEIs in those countries as a means of leveraging institutional policy initiatives and resources. Several of the policy suggestions were taken forward at national level including the introduction of weighted funding which was allocated to HEPs. One area where I believe HEPs still haven’t got their act together entirely is on systems for ensuring that individual needs are assessed in a timely way and that there is an efficient system for sharing this information appropriately. Also, the overall document was flawed because it failed to address, in any real way, inclusive teaching and learning.

QAA quality code for higher education – the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) is the quango which oversees quality and standards in the provision of HE courses in the UK. The ‘code’ provides the framework which HEPs need to follow to ensure quality and standards. Some elements are mandatory but contain little reference to inclusion or disability. Alongside these elements are 12 advisory documents which do make more specific references to inclusive practices and disabled students. Suffice to say it is difficult to find these and to provide some kind of cohesive approach to ensuring quality and standards of HE courses for disabled students if you were so inclined to do so. Before this more embedded approach was taken, disability provision was outlined in separate documentation: in 1999 through ‘section3: students with disabilities’ (which was reported on in this special study by the QAA) and in 2010 through the updated ‘section 3: disabled students’.