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Accessibility and Leglislation in Higher Education

Dave McCarthy, Technology for Disabilities Information Service

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The recent history of accessibility across UK society shows a clear increase in the use of legislation to prevent discrimination. Equal Opportunities began to play a key role, and in 1995 the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was passed. This was followed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. Yet, despite this, education in the UK was exempted from the Disability Discrimination Act, with some arguing that academic standards would be lowered if institutions were 'forced' to admit students with disabilities. On May 11 2001 the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) was given Royal Assent. This Act will begin to take effect from 1 September 2002, and a revised Code of Practice will be available from 31 October 2001.

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