OIA welcomes Higher Education Commission “Arriving at Thriving” report on disabled students

We welcome the Higher Education Commission’s report following their inquiry into the experiences of disabled students in higher education.

Disabled students need to be properly supported to enable them to make the most of their higher education experience and fulfil their potential. The additional challenges faced by disabled students highlighted in the report are reflected in the complaints we see, and we welcome the report’s focus on addressing these challenges and barriers. Our good practice guidance Supporting disabled students is intended to help higher education providers to support disabled students effectively. We are also currently preparing guidance on handling requests for additional consideration. We hope this will benefit disabled students by reducing the administrative burden when they need to ask for mitigating or extenuating circumstances to be taken into consideration.

Felicity Mitchell, Independent Adjudicator said:

“It’s very important that higher education providers take steps to anticipate and meet the needs of disabled students, and that they have a truly inclusive culture and learning environment.

As the report recognises it can be difficult for disabled students to make a complaint. Providers need to make it as easy as possible for students to raise issues and support students effectively when they do. Students’ unions and other student representative bodies have a valuable role in this.”


Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Sarah Liddell, Head of Leadership Office, mediarelations@oiahe.org.uk, 0118 959 9813.

  1. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) is the independent student complaints ombuds service for higher education in England and Wales. It is the designated operator of the student complaints’ scheme under the Higher Education Act 2004.
  2. Our Scheme is free to students and has been designed to be accessible to all students, without the need for legal representation.
  3. We have a wide remit to review student complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales, as set out in our Scheme Rules.
  4. Our guidance on Supporting disabled students is part of our wider Good Practice Framework.
  5. We are currently preparing a new section of the Good Practice Framework on Requests for additional consideration, to give guidance on handling mitigating or extenuating circumstances which we expect to publish before the end of the year.
  6. The Good Practice Framework is one element of the OIA’s good practice work. We also provide guidance through a range of webinars, videos and virtual workshops in our outreach programme.
  7. You can find further information about the Scheme and our work at https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.