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Letter from Barbara Waters printed in The Guardian, 21.08.02

20 August 2002

The future of Anastasia Fedotova, the deaf student rejected by Oxford University, has highlighted the fact that 6 years after the Disability Discrimination Act was passed the vital area of education is finally to be included from September 2002.

Disabled students need to be able to make choices about where they study, what they study and how they study based on their abilities. They should not be limited by the variation in practice of education providers including higher education institutions.

The new civil rights law should enable individual disabled students to apply to any college or university feeling confident that they will be able to secure the support they need to achieve their goals.

Disability organisations did not 'wade into the row' (Guardian p5) but have worked long and hard to persuade Government to rectify the omission of education from the Disability Discrimination Act.

But it will be of little benefit if disabled people are unaware of their rights and if institutions are not aware that they must review their policies, practices and procedures in order to meet their new legal obligations.

Skill's Information line offers information and advice on issues concerning disability and post 16 education, training and employment. The line is open Monday to Thursday 1:30-4:30, Tel: 0800 328 5050 (voice), Tel: 0800 068 2422 (text), Email:,and web -

Barbara Waters
Chief Executive, Skill

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