Disabled Students UK is expanding2 September 2022
Disabled Students UK pilots novel accessibility evaluation9 December 2022
Disabled Students UK is honoured to be selected for the Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 list 2022. The list highlights and celebrates disabled individuals and disabled-led organisations that are working tirelessly to create a more accessible and inclusive world for all.
Disabled Students UK is a grassroots organisation working for increased accessibility in Higher Education and is the biggest disabled student-led organisation in the UK, with over 500 contributors from 60 different universities. Amelia McLoughlan, DSUK Network Director states:
“We are delighted to again be recognised for our work. We have come a long way in the last two years – from releasing sector-leading publications to embarking on our Access Insights Initiative. The growing national community of disabled students is at the heart of everything we do.”
A recent report by Disabled Students UK demonstrates the lessons that can be learnt from the pandemic, detailing concrete steps that institutions and the sector can take to be more accessible and inclusive for disabled students.
To address the lack of understanding of accessibility in Higher Education, DSUK is launching the Access Insights Initiative which will provide a public evaluation of accessibility at each UK university.
“Disabled Students should be able to make informed decisions about Higher Education, and our Access Insights Initiative is driven by their own experiences in order to make that a reality. It also gives university members an unparalleled opportunity to utilise this knowledge to improve accessibility within their institutions.”
Established as a Community Interest Company, DSUK is made up of current and former disabled students, and is largely voluntary with support from funders, consulting work and crowdfunding. It has a uniquely disability-informed structure, focusing on releasing the knowledge held by disabled students to better the sector. The organisation, which has originally been entirely volunteer-led, recently passed the milestone of recruiting its first paid employees. Mette Anwar-Westander, Chief Executive states:
“Disabled students are often expected to do accessibility labour for free, but we recognise that our organisation contains some of the UK’s leading experts in HE accessibility, with years of experience. We continue to work towards creating a more accessible Higher Education sector, and ensuring that these experts are sustainably compensated.”