#LTHEchat 249 Supporting disabled students to fulfil their potential in H.E – transforming attitudes, processes and provision. Led by @DrEllieDavison, @jocopson_ and disabled students from the University of Lincoln. Wednesday 7th December 2022 at 20:00 UK.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Almost one in five Higher Education students is disabled (Office for Students, 2022a) and disabled students are statistically less likely than non-disabled students to complete their course or to graduate with first or upper second class degrees (Office for Students, 2022b).  

The general perception of disabilities may steer towards physical conditions, such as mobility issues, visual or hearing impairments. However, disability is far more diverse and includes mental health conditions, such as anxiety, and specific learning differences such as dyslexia, processing disorders and ADHD (HESA, 2022).  Thus, ensuring that Higher Education is accessible to all is vital to support the complex and often hidden nature of the challenges many students face.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, disabled students reported that shifts in practice, such as an increase in the availability of lecture recordings, remote access to teaching sessions, and flexible assessments and extension policies were of significant benefit to them.  However, less than a quarter of disabled students felt that they had received the support they required to fully access their studies (Disabled Students UK, 2022).

Furthermore, the Disabled Students’ Commission (2022) noted that while beneficial adjustments such as the provision of captions, have been implemented in some areas of the sector, these are often limited to ‘pockets of good practice’. The Commission have opened a consultation to produce a Disabled Student Commitment. This Commitment will create a sector-wide standard for inclusive provision Disabled Student Commitment Consultation.

This unique LTHE chat is a co-created partnership between students, academic and professional staff. It includes voices of disabled individuals and disability allies. This is an opportunity to explore the challenges in transforming attitudes, processes and provision, as well as to share innovative and equitable practices that support disabled students to fully realise their potential.  

Guest Biographies.

Dr Ellie Davison (NTF) has a background in molecular genetics research and is a qualified
teacher, with extensive experience developing and delivering science curricular in secondary
schools. She is currently Director of Teaching and Learning for the University of Lincoln’s
CATE winning Foundation Studies Centre, providing an alternative entry route into the
College of Science, where she supports a diverse student cohort to thrive in Higher

Jo Copson is the Widening Participation Officer at the University of Lincoln Careers and
Employability centre. They are currently completing a Masters’ degree focusing on the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the experiences of disabled university students and
has recently spoken at TEDxYouth@BrayfordPool about their experience as a disabled


Disabled Students Commission and Borkin, H. (2022) Exploring the impact of Covid-19 on
disabled students’ experiences: in-depth qualitative report.  Available at: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/exploring-impact-covid-19-disabled-students-

Disabled Students UK (2022) Going back is not a choice.  Available at:

Higher Education Statistics Agency (2022) UK domiciled student enrolments by disability
and sex 2014/15 to 2020/21. Available at:  https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-15

Office for Students (2022a) Equality, diversity and student characteristic data. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/79a7bb57-83cf-4c50-a358-6bcfe80f165c/ofs2022_29.pdf

Office for Students (2022b) Access and participation data dashboard. Available at:

About teresamac

Experienced language educator and innovator, now retired. Taught and managed language teaching (French and Spanish) for 35 years, researching voice over the internet and telecollaboration (virtual exchange) in language teaching, informal learning, assessment and learning theories.
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