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Disability Service

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Definition of Disability



The Disability Services are part of Wellbeing Support Services at the University of Warwick. We encourage existing students and applicants to declare any disability or learning difference and contact us in advance to discuss their support requirements to enable us to make reasonable adjustments for the duration of their studies.

The University of Warwick and Wellbeing Support Services as a whole are committed to equality, diversity and to promoting an inclusive teaching and learning environment for all.

University Disability Policy for Staff and Students.



Disability is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. The Act aims to protect people from direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation on the basis of disability.

Read the University's Disability Strategy Statement to find out about the work we're doing on disability equality and accessibility.

Find support, initatives, and guidance relating to disability here.


Definition of 'Disability' in the Equality Act

Under the Equality Act, a person has a disability if they have a "physical or mental impairment" which "has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on [their] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

The Act includes additional explanation of these terms:

  • 'Substantial' means more than minor or trivial.
  • 'Long-term' means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months.
  • 'Normal day-to-day activities' include everyday things like eating, washing, walking, and going shopping.

It is important to remember that not all disabilities are visible.


Duty to Make Adjustments

The Equality Act also places on public bodies, including the University, a duty to take such steps as are reasonable to provide adjustments or aids if a disabled person is substantially disadvantaged by any of the following:

  • A provision, criterion, or practice.
  • A physical feature of the premises.
  • The absence of an auxiliary aid or service.

The aim of this duty is to ensure that disabled people can access a service or workplace at as close to the same standard as non-disabled people would receive as it is possible to achieve.

The duty is 'anticipatory' meaning that public bodies, including the University, must be ready to comply with this duty at any time i.e. the University is not expected to anticipate the needs of every prospective staff member, but we are required to consider and take reasonable and proportionate steps to overcome barriers that may impede people with different kinds of disabilities.

If you or someone you line manage, require workplace adjustments the Disability Framework will guide you through the implementation process.



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