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Advancing equality and diversity in universities and colleges


Accessible estates and facilities

People with impairments may face physical barriers to accessing their campus. Providing support and adjustments can remove these barriers and support the development of an inclusive environment.

The quality of the physical environment can encourage forms of social interaction and enrich the whole staff and student experience. However, there can be barriers for people with impairments in studying and working in higher education caused by physically inaccessible and inappropriate environments such as lecture rooms, accommodation, libraries and social spaces.

HEIs can make a range of adjustments to make sure people aren’t disabled by the physical environment. This can be an individual adjustment, or a wider adjustment which improves the environment for everyone.

Consultation

Establishing a forum or network of students and staff with impairments can help verify that their requirements are being considered when planning and reviewing changes to the environment or buildings and maintenance regimes. The same network can be used for post-occupancy evaluations. Some students, for example students on the autistic spectrum, could be given the option of remote input if preferred.

Access manuals

You could also consider producing an access manual for work in improving the physical environment. This could contain guidelines for supply of materials and design protocol, as well as the history of decisions around accessibility, such as why a colour scheme or particular light fitting was chosen.