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As defined by the Equality Act 2010, a disabled person has a physical or mental impairment whereby the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out typical day to day activities

Disabled students remain underrepresented in further, and higher education and retention rates for such students are lower than average, particularly amongst those with mental ill-health or multiple impairment groups.

Students can also develop disabilities during their degrees, which is particularly common for mental health.

Accommodating the needs of such students poses challenges to how academia currently operates.

Key Issues:
Disabled students, like many widening access groups, may experience stigma.

This is particularly significant for this group of students as in order to receive support, self-identification is required, and stigma can prevent a student from declaring disability upon application.

The inaccessible nature of higher education (both physical and structural) coupled with a lack of willingness of academic staff to make reasonable adjustments.

Useful Resources and Contacts

SAAS and Disabled Students Allowance.


LEAD Scotland
Contact details/ form

0131 228 9441

Lead Scotland
525 Ferry Road


Disability Information Scotland
Contact details: 0300 323 9961 ,
Disability Information Scotland
Thorn House
5 Rose Street



UCAS – Application Guidance for students with a disability



Commissioner’s Briefing Paper on disabled students at University 2019


Everyday Computer Skills:

Everyday computer skills (16 hours) is a collaboration between Lead Scotland and the OU in Scotland, with funding from SCVO’s Digital Participation Fund. It’s a digital skills course for beginners, designed with and for disabled people. It covers all you need to know to get online using your computer, tablet or phone, with a focus on accessibility and online safety.


If you would like to be part of a network and interest group to share experience, examine issues and challenges and develop appropriate best practice resources, please contact