Disabled staff in lifelong learning sector face inaccessible surroundings and poor understanding from employers

Disabled staff in the lifelong learning sector have to cope with inaccessible surroundings and poor understanding and support from their employers and managers, a new study has found.

An interim report by The Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning suggests there is a tendency for managers to focus on the ‘problems’ facing individuals, rather than identifying institutional barriers that exist.

The commission’s From Compliance to Culture Change report received evidence from hundreds of disabled workers, together with human resources and personnel staff and managers from the sector.

The lifelong learning sector includes further education, adult and community learning and higher education.

The report suggests that managers have an assumption that if staff are unwell, impaired or have learning difficulties, then they “should not be in post”.

Leisha Fullick, pro director at the Institute of Education, University of London, and chair of the commission, said: “The commission was established because of the under-representation of disabled staff in education.

“Although a serious equal opportunities issue, it is one that has received scant policy attention to date. The commission aims to put this right.”

A consultation period will now begin with interested parties across the lifelong learning sector.

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