This page explains what you are entitled to in your education. The plain text version of the image text is available in alt-text and at the bottom of this page.
Our resources page links to uni guidance on exam arrangements, intermission, and how to contact the Disability Resource Centre or the Student Advice Service!
Plain text version:
Know your rights. You have the right not to face discrimination as a disabled person. Under the Equality Act 2010, disability is a “protected characteristic” – that means it’s illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their being disabled, or on the basis of something arising as a consequence of someone’s disability. The law defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
You have the right not to be discriminated against – directly or indirectly! Direct discrimination – treating someone less favourably because of a protected characteristic – and harassment are not the only forms of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Indirect discrimination is also, legally, discrimination! Indirect discrimination is where a “provision, criterion or practice” puts a disabled person at a “particular disadvantage”. Failure to comply with the legal duty to make adjustments also counts as discrimination.
You have the right to (anticipatory!) ‘reasonable adjustments’. If a disabled person is put at a “substantial disadvantage” by an inaccessible provision, criterion, practice or physical feature, the Equality Act 2010 requires that reasonable adjustments be put in place to eliminate any disadvantage. This is an anticipatory duty. It requires service providers to anticipate the needs of potential service users, and take proactive steps to ensure equal access to full participation.
You have the right to fair and adjusted assessment. Assessment should be about measuring your competence in your subject – not your ability to demonstrate skills irrelevant to what you’re being assessed on. As long as competence standards aren’t compromised, you have the right to adjusted assessment if you need it. If e.g. a three-hour written exam puts you at a substantial disadvantage as a disabled student, you have the right to exam adjustments (extra time, rest breaks, use of a PC…) and/or an alternative mode of assessment.
You have the right to equal access to education. There are lots of ways in which Cambridge is set up to exclude or disadvantage disabled students. You have the right to access your education on an equal footing with everyone else; it’s a legal requirement for the uni to enable this as far as it can. Whether it’s deadline flexibility, handing work in digitally, prioritised reading lists, material in advance, alternative text formats, accessible rooms – you have the right to the adjustments you need to study and achieve without being disadvantaged.
You have the right not to foot the bill for your adjustments. If the university or your college is making a ‘reasonable adjustment’ for you (e.g. providing you with accessible accommodation, academic adjustments etc), and this costs money to do, it’s their responsibility to pay – not yours! The Equality Act 2010 says service providers are not entitled to require a disabled person to pay “to any extent” costs arising from that provider complying with the legal duty to make adjustments.