The number of disabled students accessing higher education in the United Kingdom has increased substantially, but the findings detailed in
Disabled Students in Welsh Higher Education: A Framework for Equality and Inclusion identify that inequality and exclusion persist.
Discussion is presented in three main sections:
Perceptions, priorities and power, provides a theoretical and legislative framework towards understanding the experiences of disabled people in society today. The significance of competing priorities of, on the one hand legislators, policymakers and higher education providers, against, on the other hand the often excluded voice of disabled people, is considered in terms of legislative change, policy processes and provision implemented. Karen Beauchamp-Pryor addresses the absence of research examining the situation of disabled students in Wales and identifies the tensions which exist due to devolved political and policymaking power. Part one concludes by providing a detailed statistical analysis of the representation of disabled students in higher education.
The case study university, explores an institutional response to disability policy and provision, academic departmental approaches and student experience. In the case study disability was perceived not as a matter of equal rights but as a welfare problem requiring measures of care, concern and compensation. Consequently, disabled students lacked power, which was reflected in restricted choice, lack of control and non-involvement.
An equality and inclusive framework, responds to the question of how a model of equality and inclusion can be advanced within institutions. The author urges for an innovative active process of deliberation and discussion within universities of those factors which promote equality and the feeling of inclusion for disabled students: a process whereby wider views and experiences are embraced amongst staff and students.