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Disabled people are much more likely than the non-disabled to leave school without any qualifications. According to research by the Disability Rights Commission (see below), disabled students are often faced with discrimination, some of which is extremely prejudiced and most of which is subtle stereotyping based around assumptions and expectations. Disabled students are often perceived as 'dependent' and lacking the ability of their non-disabled peers. These perceptions may have an impact on outcomes and an impact on how we understand educational needs and experiences across the student body in Scotland.

Disabled students face particular difficulties in terms of accessing further and higher education, the most literal of these being physical access to buildings. Not all disabled students, however, have needs relating to physical access, some students may be blind, deaf or dyslexic and all of these issues require particular kinds of support and impact upon the ways in which disabled people are able to access and benefit from further and higher education. However, understanding that disabled peope often face similar barriors, regardless of their disability can help you think about better ways to provide services to all people with disabilities. Issues around access, expectations, etc, will have an impact on the needs and experiences of disabled people with reference to lifelong learning and, as such, should be taken into account by research and policy in this area.

Scottish Executive

Scottish Centre for Research in Education

Department for Education and Skills

Department for Work and Pensions

  • Diversity in Disability (2003) This study explores the attitudes and experiences of disabled people from different groups, their perceptions of social exclusion, and their experiences of discrimination and prejudice, within the context of factors such as ethnicity, age, gender and sexuality.

Disability Rights Commission

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

University of Brighton

Deaf Studies Trust