More than 1,000 current Imperial students have declared a disability, a figure which has increased each academic year. 

It’s also worth noting that 65 per cent of impairments are unseen.

Imperial subscribes to the Social Model of Disability. Unlike the medical model, the Social Model is not solely concerned with what the body can or cannot do but focuses on the barriers that prevent disabled people participating equally in society. The problem is not disabled people themselves, but the environmental, institutional and attitudinal barriers they face. Disability is an ‘operational’ issue and, as such, every member of College staff has a responsibility to:

  • Eliminate discrimination
  • Anticipate need
  • Make reasonable adjustments

Personal Tutors can help tutees by:

  • Keeping alert to signs of disability.  
  • Discussing with them the benefits of disclosure, if they have not already disclosed, so that they might be better supported
  • Asking individual students about support and reasonable adjustments that could be made to help them better access their programme’s teaching and learning
  • Referring them to the Departmental Disability Officer or Disability Advisory Service for specialist advice and support
  • Making sure that their teaching and assessment practice, more generally, is inclusive of all students. For example, that materials are available electronically in advance so that students can access and adapt them, that Panopto lecture capture is available where approriate, that alternative forms of assessment to unseen exams are considered where appropriate.   

Students with physical or mental impairments, specific learning difficulties or who have other specific needs may be entitled to special arrangements in their examinations such as extra time or permission to use a PC.