University Challenge - Evidence
Stats in the area
- Nearly half of all universities surveyed in Scotland don't have rooms for hired carers, forcing disabled students to live at home rather than with their fellow students.
- 10% of university inter-campus transport is inaccessible to disabled students
- One in ten Scottish universities do not have good links with local care agencies and support services.
- More than 40% of Scottish universities do not provide accessible accommodation in all university halls.
- Only just over halfof all universities have entirely accessibleteaching and study rooms.
- 20% of Scottish universities do not provide a Freshers' guide to the university for disabled students.
Hayleigh Barclay is a graduate of the University of the West of Scotland
I first started University in September 2006 after completing my HNC from college. I ended up studying at the University of the West of Scotland and have just graduated with a BA hons in Broadcast Production. I had been researching universities for almost a year but as it turned out I would only have two weeks to pick the final place to study. Luckily the University was only a short distance from my home which is something which I knew would be a blessing. I had already ruled out travelling to Edinburgh as I was not ready to relocate or move into halls with my care package.
Not only did the distance matter but also the accessibility of the building and student union. The university I attended already had stair lifts installed and disabled toilets facilities. The only problem was I required a hoist for the toilet. This ended up taking a year to be installed after much debating about funding and contractors. On the plus side the staff and disability advisors were fantastic with the situation and kept fighting for the hoist to be installed as soon as possible. The hoist has now been fitted and can be used by any new student who wishes to study at the University. From this I would advise that any student with a disability to create a good relationship with staff members as they are always there to help and extremely supportive.
My disability advisor also helped to set up exam arrangements which included having extra time and a scribe. This information was then passed on to the relevant admin departments who were always on the ball every year to ensure that the support was always in place on time and that there were no added stress when it came to arrangements nearer the exam period.
Another important aspect was the health and safety arrangements particularly fire drill procedures. During my first year I had a meeting with the health and safety officer who went through the different exits and went through any health matters which may effect either myself or support staff if an evacuation had to take place. This included the safety of lifting and any mobility issues. If any student has been asked to attend such a meeting it is important to ask any questions that may be on your mind as the advisor is always willing to be of assistance and any help that you can provide them with being total honest and upfront with the assistance that you will require is always a positive step to take. Remember your safety is important and this is also one of the main priorities of the staff as well!
Most of the meetings that took place were in my first couple of months of starting university and also during the summer break before I started. There is no reason why a student with a disability shouldn't attend university. There is no obstacle that can't be worked around and you deserve the same level of education as everybody else. Remember always to ask for any help that you may require as help is always at hand but above all else remember to enjoy your experience.