‘We’re being fobbed off’: why disabled students are losing out in lockdown | Education

When Harrie Larrington-Spencer was knocked off her bike at the end of the first year of her PhD, she was left with a brachial plexus injury. “My left arm and hand barely work and I have chronic pain,” she says. She knew her injury would affect many aspects of her life, but was surprised to learn just how hard it would be to do her university work as a disabled person. “No reasonable adjustment would make me not at a…

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System for children with special needs in England ‘riddled with inequalities’ | Education

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are being failed by a system “riddled with unexplained inequalities”, according to a damning parliamentary report. The report says many of the 1.3 million pupils in England with SEND are not getting the support they need and end up being excluded from school, damaging their education, wellbeing and future life chances. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the funding crisis in SEND and shortcomings in provision were high on the political agenda. Ministers…

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‘I can’t get motivated’: the students struggling with online learning | Education

Loretta Charles-Cregan, an 18-year-old A-level student, considers herself lucky because her school gave her a laptop to help her do her GCSEs when she was made temporarily homeless after her house flooded. “It’s the only reason I can do my work now,” she says. “It was a blessing in disguise.” Many students from low-income families like Charles-Cregan’s lack the basic technology they need to study online, including access to a laptop and a reliable broadband connection, along with a quiet…

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How home working leaves deaf people out of the loop during coronavirus | Society

Working from home is a challenge for many of us, from learning how to communicate with colleagues via Zoom, to acquainting ourselves with the nuances of telephone conference calls. But imagine what it must be like if you are deaf or have difficulty hearing. Research published on Wednesday by the charity Action on Hearing Loss found that three-quarters of people who live with deafness fear they will be less productive working from home. Rob Geaney, head of campaigns and public…

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Studying with dyspraxia: ‘I never truly understood an academic text’ | Education

When I was aged 16 and an office assistant, I put the company I worked with in a near-criminal position. My job involved “simple” admin tasks, which I processed with the success of a malfunctioning computer, spitting out wrong answers no matter what combinations I tried. Once, I was seconds away from shredding some crucial documents before a colleague stopped me. Years later I was diagnosed with dyspraxia, a developmental coordination disorder. Suddenly, my life made sense. Growing up, it…

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Student in wheelchair forced to listen to lecture from top of stairs | Education

The University of Hull has launched an investigation after a disabled student shared a photo on Twitter showing how its lecture theatres are inaccessible for wheelchair users. The photo shows Sarah-Marie Da Silva, a veterinary student, sitting in the doorway of a lecture theatre which has no accessible ramp allowing her proper access to the room. She added in another Tweet: “As a wheelchair user, I don’t have any option … most days I don’t even have a desk.” Sarah-Marie…

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‘Students have a bad name’: how cities are healing the town v gown divide | Education

Wild parties, chaotic flatshares and heavy drinking are viewed with affection as the youthful hijinks associated with university life – but not by everyone. With some universities rapidly expanding following the removal of the student numbers cap, these behaviours are fuelling a growing divide between students and their local communities. The past year has seen reports describe how residents are “fed up” with noisy student parties in Bristol, how student housing is “destroying the local community” in Brighton and Liverpool,…

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‘Far too many are struggling’: are universities failing autistic students? | Education

Matthew Moffatt, who is autistic, struggled when he started at De Montfort University. “When I saw how busy my lecture theatre was, it was terrifying,” he says. “My sense of panic is through the roof and I’m not very good at controlling it. It just builds really quickly – I start shaking and want to leave.” He hadn’t wanted to go to university because he didn’t think he would fit in, and hated the idea of presentations and busy lectures.…

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Inhumane treatment of Ebenezer Azamati at the Oxford Union | Letters | Education

I was horrified to read of Ebenezer Azamati’s treatment at the Oxford Union, but sadly not surprised (Blind student dragged from Oxford Union ‘by his ankles’, 18 November). My own experiences 30 years ago also showed an elitist institution seeped in privilege. I was assaulted in the union’s bar when a rather posh chap demanded that I and my friends give him the table we were at. When I refused I was thrown to the ground at which stage I…

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Some councils’ school transport costs nearly as high as child social care | Education

Councils in England have warned that home-to-school transport, on which many children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) depend, is under threat because of “unsustainable” costs and insufficient funding. A report commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) and County Councils Network has revealed that councils are spending more on home-to-school transport than they spend on children’s centres, family support or youth services. In some areas where the costs of transport are disproportionately high, often because of long distances…

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Young lives blighted by a lack of support | Letters | Education

Your editorial (A less confrontational and better funded system for vulnerable pupils is needed, 28 October) was admirably understated. Its arrival on our breakfast table coincided with our grocery delivery, brought in by a cheerful young man whose job as a teacher and specialist in behavioural problems at a school in Cardiff had just been cut – along with the jobs of five others in his field. The reason given was that there was no longer any need for teachers…

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How I found my vocation: ‘As a black, deaf student, I work 10 times harder’ | Education

I feel like I’ve got two identities: being deaf and being black. It’s a double struggle to fit in and I’ve had to work 10 times harder than my classmates. [A recent report from the National Deaf Children’s Society, which analysed government data, found deaf pupils in England are struggling “at every stage of their education”.] I was born hearing but became ill with meningitis when I was a baby. After that I became deaf. I grew up in Barking…

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‘It removes stigma’: how tech breaks down barriers for disabled students | Education

Rustling crisp packets, shuffling feet and the general buzz of conversation made lectures a trial for Gemma Long during her first degree. She suffers from sensory overload connected to her autism, which was only diagnosed after she graduated. But when she started a teacher-training course at the University of Huddersfield, she received access to software to help her cope with dyslexia and found it transformative. It allowed her to listen to lectures quietly at home, which dramatically improved her grades.…

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Families rally against special educational needs funding cuts | Education

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities have staged protests across England against funding cuts. On Thursday afternoon, children, parents and teachers marched in 28 towns and cities including London, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham in the first national action of its kind. Organisers of Send National Crisis said about 1,000 people attended a rally in Parliament Square in Westminster. Among the speakers was the campaigner Emma Parker, whose son James has spent 29 months out…

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Pupils with special educational needs to stage funding protests | Education

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are to stage protests across England over funding cuts they say have left many pupils without adequate support and unable to attend school. Parents, disabled children and their supporters will march in more than 25 locations on Thursday, including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Widnes, Worthing, Stevenage, Leamington Spa, Matlock, Colchester and Dorchester. It is part of a campaign by families whose struggle to secure the support their children…

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Ripping off the band-aid of my disability – Education Article

Discussions, disguises and defining moments My initiation into the social microcosm of tertiary education was over crackers, camembert, and several bags of sweets, with 4 other people I’d met in my very first lecture. As we walked out of the lecture theatre, we began formal introductions, establishing an immediate rapport through our shared inability to see the point of the three-hour developmental psychology lecture we’d just endured, and making a pact to bring something sugary every week to see us…

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