Technology and Accessibility in Further Education

Research into how blind and partially sighted students access information and assistive technology.

In 2021, our research revealed further education (FE) colleges were failing in their compliance with website regulations and delivering on inclusion, accessibility and anticipatory adjustments. This impacts how blind and partially sighted students can access information for their studies and about their college.

In 2022, we commissioned All Able Ltd to follow up on their initial research to see where colleges were one year on. This time the research included Specialist Further Education (FE) colleges.

What we found

The findings showed small improvements. Headline results show almost a quarter of colleges now have a Good or Compliant accessibility statement on their website (up by 8%). And the number having poor quality, or no statements is down by 12%.  But 63% of statements are still poor.

Find out how your college fared on our accessibility compliance map.

What we are doing

We are working with both the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the National Association of Specialist Colleges (NATSPEC) to raise the profile of the report and the importance of getting websites right and accessible.

We have produced a range of resources to support colleges to do this in our Making College Accessible guide.

Cambridge Regional College took action following the publication of the report in 2021.  Jeremy Lloyd, Director of Supported Learning and Inclusion, said:

“We used the findings from Thomas Pocklington Trust to review and continue to make adjustments to our systems and processes.  We know it is really important that the whole student journey is of a high quality and that our students, who are blind and partially sighted, are supported to be independent, through adapted resources and assistive technology to achieve their own individual outcomes.”

Tara Chattaway, Head of Education at TPT, said:

“Every blind and partially sighted student should have access to a quality college education.  Our research shows there is still a lack of inclusive practice creating a barrier to accessibility. This was seen in inaccessible software, systems, processes and culture.”

Read our reports

2022 full report

Executive summary

2021 full report

 

Listen to the podcast

About All Able

All Able is a consulting company committed to using its expertise to help public sector organisations remove barriers and deliver accessible and inclusive services that work for everyone. We believe that everyone should have equal opportunity to utilise public services, get an education, and engage with their communities to live an enjoyable and independent life. Go to www.allable.co.uk to find out more.

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