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What are reasonable adjustments?

11 November 2020

Blog post by AoC SEND Conference sponsor Cognassist

Many learners still face significant barriers that prevent their success in education. In 2018, research by the Department for Education found that 25% of FE learners and apprentices who did not complete their programme were identified as disabled.

  • Why did disabled learners make up a quarter of non-completions?
  • What about learners without a formal diagnosis?

There are many other learners with unidentified needs, who also fall through the gaps because providers simply don’t know that these learners require support. So, the number could have been even higher than 25 per cent in reality.

Our data shows that roughly one in every three people are neurodiverse in a way that requires support. We cannot ignore this fact, but we know that many people are unsure on how to approach learners who require additional support.

Educators want to do the right thing, and tutors will often put hours and hours of extra work into supporting learners. However, using a trial-and-error approach to provide support can be exhausting for tutors, demoralising for learners and simply unworkable at scale.

Technological and learner-centred innovations have been on the horizon of education for years. Recent events have fast-tracked the necessity of these advancements and shown the importance of providing secure opportunities for learners who may be at a greater risk of non-completion.

What are reasonable adjustments?

In the Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments are defined as the means taken to avoid a substantial disadvantage that a learner may face due to their disability.

These adjustments are split into three categories:

  • Provisions, criteria and practices
    For example, providing targeted learning interventions based on an apprentice’s specific needs throughout their programme.
  • Physical features
    For example, choosing an end-point assessment location for an apprentice with fibromyalgia, arthritis or a wheelchair that is accessible by automatic doors and has either a lift or a ground-floor assessment room.
  • Provision of an auxiliary aid
    For example, using colour overlays for apprentices who experience visual disturbances when reading due to Irlen syndrome or dyslexia.

For more information and guidance on reasonable adjustments, check out Cognassist’s free white paper: