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The Disabled Student Perspective Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities UCET Seminar 09 July 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Disabled Student Perspective Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities UCET Seminar 09 July 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Disabled Student Perspective Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities UCET Seminar 09 July 2008

2 Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities Skill: a national charity promoting opportunities for young people and adults with any kind of impairment in post-16 education, training and employment. Works to raise awareness of disabled peoples ability to enter the teaching profession: –Provides information and advice. –Raise aspirations: Into Teaching 2008 –Raise awareness of legislation e.g. the Disability Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act –Support education institutions in implementing legislation –Influence policy making

3 The Disabled Student Perspective What motivates individuals to teach is the same for disabled people as non disabled people. For many disabled trainee teachers their impairment is an additional positive attribute: …I feel my disability and life experiences will actually act as a positive influence upon some of the young people in our society (Stuart Newton, Into Teaching 2008)

4 Perceptions on Disability and Teaching Potential disabled applicants to ITT can often be deterred from applying by other peoples concern about their ability to cope with the barriers that they may face e.g. the attitudes of pupils and parents, inaccessible buildings. For example, the perceptions of the teaching professionals that they encounter and careers advisors in relation to fitness to teach can be inaccurate. Peoples perceptions about the ability of teachers who develop an impairment during their career can often be different to the perceptions they hold about disabled trainee teachers.

5 Disabled Student Perspective: The Reality of ITT Some disabled ITT applicants may struggle to get through the fitness to teach assessment. Despite the Disability Discrimination Act and the guidance such as Able to Teach some disabled trainees do experience barriers to progression e.g. discriminatory attitudes, the availability of suitable placements. Some disabled trainees impairments may require them to work harder than their non disabled peers to qualify.

6 Disabled Student Perspective: The Reality of ITT The majority of disabled entrants are able to fulfil their ambition of becoming a teacher if they are on a suitable ITT programme and have the right equipment and support.

7 …. I think what impacted on me most was that, for the first time in my life, I had people who believed in me and my abilities, and they thought that I would make a great teacher (Becky Newman, Into Teaching 2008)

8 As a wheelchair user it was a particular challenge to find accessible schools nearby for my practical training. I arranged at least one placement myself to ensure that I wasnt disadvantaged. I also advised on equipment to enable me to teach… and a slim line wheelchair for getting around the classroom. These were paid for by the university and through my Disabled Students Allowance. (Stuart Newton, Into Teaching 2008)

9 The Disability Discrimination Act The DDA has had a positive impact on the ability of disabled people to enter and progress in teaching. –Involvement of disabled people –Tackling discriminatory practices –Requiring educational institutions to impact assess their policies, procedures and practices. –The requirement to make anticipatory reasonable adjustments. –The selection of people based on competency standards.

10 The Disability Discrimination Act, continued For disabled students there is still progress to be made in areas including: –Information provided to prospective students –Preventing discrimination in selection –Assessing fitness to teach –Placements

11 Information for Prospective Students Potential disabled students may think or have been told that the requirement to be physically and mentally fit excludes them from teaching. Potential disabled students can be daunted by ITT providers expectation that applicants will have spent time in a school. Not all students associate with the terms disabled or disability.

12 Discrimination in Selection Disabled ITT applicants do report instances of discrimination in the selection process. For example: –Admissions tutors they have contact with lack of awareness of the DDA and ITT requirements. –Made to undertake additional forms of assessment that non-disabled students are not required to undertake. –Failure to make reasonable adjustments during the selection process.

13 Assessing Fitness to Teach: The Student Perspective The main hiccup came when I did not pass a medical examination because I could not repeat a list of numbers said to my back from the other side of the room with my eyes shut (a situation that happens all the time to teachers in the classroom – not!) (Karen Williamson, d/Deaf Teacher, Into Teaching 2003)

14 Assessing Fitness to Teach: The Student Perspective Disabled students/applicants to ITT are not always aware of what occupational health advisors are considering when they are assessed. As a result applicants are not as prepared as they could be when they are referred to an OHA e.g. they could find and gain support of a practicing teacher with similar impairment. OHAs are not always aware of the full range of reasonable adjustments available to disabled students. Disabled applicants/students often feel discriminated against (and can be) during the medical assessment process.

15 The Student Perspective: Placements Things were going well until I found out that my first school placement was in another city…. I was spending nearly 3 hours travelling. The school itself wasnt for me. I found there was a lot of prejudice but I was supported through it by my family and the disability advisors in the university, as well as my course mates. (Kirsten Edmondson, blind PGCE student, Into Teaching 2008)

16 The Student Perspective: Placements The majority of ITT students that Skill interacts have experienced placement problems. –Distance required to travel –Training providers failure to effectively communicate the reasonable adjustments required –Failure of the placement to implement reasonable adjustments –Attitudes of staff on the placement

17 Skills Information Service For disabled people, their friends and families and members of Skill Open: Tuesdays 11.30am-1.30pm Thursdays 1.30pm-3.30pm Tel Text Fax Address Chapter House, Crucifix Lane, London SE1 3JW

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