The University has an equality duty to not just respond to student need, but to anticipate needs wherever possible. We must think ahead about the common barriers to study anyone within a cohort might experience and remove them, without reference to the needs of specific students.
This means that no part of the University should wait until it is asked to consider what adjustments should be made, but should be ready where feasible with solutions to overcome disadvantages. This creates a more inclusive environment for all students and can also contribute to a greater sense of belonging for disabled students, who feel that the learning environment has been planned to include them from the beginning, without special accommodations needing to be made. This principle applies to all areas of the University’s services and infrastructure for students, including all teaching and learning activities.
The disability lead in each unit, working alongside the leadership team, has a responsibility to ensure that accessibility, inclusivity and the need to take anticipatory action is properly incorporated into the department, unit or college’s planning cycle.
However effectively action is taken to make anticipatory adjustments, there will always be a need to make some reasonable adjustments to meet individual needs. See next section: Implementing a Student Support Plan.
See the Teaching and learning: reasonable adjustments section for more information about inclusive teaching practice. More information in carrying out anticipatory adjustments can be found in the Equality Challenge Unit’s Guidance on managing reasonable adjustments in higher education, and Chapter 7 of the Equality Act 2010 Technical Guidance on Further and Higher Education.