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Press release: for release 14th May 2001



Contact: Liz Victor:
Tel: 020 7450 0620 or

lizv@skill.org.uk



Rights at last!

Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities welcomed the news on Friday that the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act received Royal Assent.


The Act, which is an amendment to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, introduces the right for disabled students not to be discriminated against in education.


Skill’s Chief Executive, Barbara Waters said; "Skill have been seeking rights to non-discrimination for disabled students for over 25 years. We were truly disappointed that education was exempt from the original Disability Discrimination Act in 1995 but are delighted that this new legislation will finally introduce rights for disabled students.


"Many disabled students will now have the right to reasonable adjustments in the provision of education. For example a student with a condition resulting in serious fatigue recently contacted our information service concerned that their university would not allow them to take breaks in all their exams as it would prove ‘too expensive’. This kind of support would definitely be considered a reasonable adjustment under the new legislation.


"Although this is excellent news for many disabled students, as the first rights come into force in October 2002, it is only the start of what will be a hectic few years for Skill. We are currently drafting the Statutory Code of Practice for the post-16 sections of the Act on behalf of the Disability Rights Commission and are developing services for universities and colleges to ensure implementation is as smooth as possible."



Contact: Liz Victor (020 7450 0620) or
lizv@skill.org.uk


Notes:

Skill (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities) gives information and advice to thousands of disabled students every year on how to maximise their experiences in education (higher and further), volunteering, training, and employment. The Skill information service is open from 1.30-4.30pm Monday to Friday on 0800 328 5050 (voice) or 0800 068 2422 (text). Extensive information is publicly available on Skill’s website: www.skill.org.uk. Skill also advises government policy makers and disseminates good practice through publications, conferences and professional networks. Skill is a registered charity with offices in London, Belfast and Edinburgh.

Skill produces a publication called Into HE which contains contact details for all disability co-ordinators in institutions providing higher education courses. Copies are available by contacting Sue Beckford at Skill or emailing
sue@skill.org.uk

Skill are in the process of developing web based services including Into HE and Into FE which provide direct email contacts for specialist staff in further and higher education. These new services will be launched in September 2001. For more details visit Skill’s website at www.skill.org.uk

The Code of Practice – Part IV: Post-16 Education, Training and Related Services will be published by the Disability Rights Commission in January 2002. It will be out for consultation between July and October 2001. For more information visit the DRC website at www.drc-gb.org

A full copy of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 can be found at www.official-documents.co.uk


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