Westminster Higher Education Forum

Disabled students - funding, inclusivity and access

Morning, Tuesday, 6th February 2018

Central London


This seminar will examine key issues and emerging priorities for improving support for disabled students at universities in England.

The context for discussion includes:

  • Reform of the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), which took effect at the start of this academic year;
  • The doubling of HEFCE funding for disabled students between 2016 and 2018 to £40million; and
  • HEFCE’s ongoing review into models of support for disabled students due to report later in the summer.

Delegates will discuss latest thinking on tackling barriers to greater participation and success for disabled students, as well as the long term impact of changes to funding policy.

They will examine the challenges for universities in implementing a social model of support for students - including looking at the best ways to move toward a more inclusive curricula, improving learning and teaching environments, issues for university staff and how to ensure consistency in provision between institutions.

Further sessions assess trends in complaints from disabled students, the provision of equipment and services, and progress on how campuses are adapting their facilities to the needs of disabled students.

Guests of Honour

Grace Simpson

Higher Education Policy Adviser, HEFCE

Greg Boone

Team Leader, Disabled Students’ Allowance, Department for Education

Guests of Honour

Greg Boone

Team Leader, Disabled Students’ Allowance, Department for Education

Grace Simpson

Higher Education Policy Adviser, HEFCE

Keynote Speaker

Professor Geoff Layer

Vice Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton and Chair, The Disabled Students Sector Leadership Group


Dr Lisa Cameron MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Disability


Molly Watt

Accessibility & Usability Consultant, Molly Watt

Senior speaker confirmed from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

Oliver Weiss

Partner, Blake Morgan

Rachel O’Brien

Disabled Students Officer, NUS

Philip Connolly

Policy and Development Manager, Disability Rights UK

Caryn Thorogood

Head of Student Services, University of Worcester

Dr Nasser Siabi

Chief Executive, Microlink

Mei-Yee Man Oram

Co-Lead, Accessible Environments, Arup