Commission for Disabled Staff in the Learning Sector

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A commission examining the recruitment, training, deployment and career progression of disabled staff in lifelong learning in England and Wales has been officially launched today.

The Commission of Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning will collect evidence from disabled staff, senior managers and HR departments, training providers, professional and advocacy organisations and government. Recommendations will be made to policy makers, funders, employers and training providers. Guides on recruitment, retention and achievements of disabled staff will also be produced.

The new commission is led by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and chaired by Leisha Fullick, Pro Director at the Institute of Education, University of London. The Commission has members from across the lifelong learning sector, including the DfES, the LSC, unions and other representatives from higher, further and adult education.

Christine Nightingale, Development Officer for the Health and Disability Equality Team at NIACE, said: “The focus of activity on disability issues has primarily been on learners and students over the last few years. And this must continue. However Disability Discrimination legislation and duties apply to disabled staff too. Unfortunately evidence has shown that disabled staff continue to face discrimination and harassment in their working lives. Many staff are too afraid to disclose their disabilities for fear of being disadvantaged. We want the Commission to uncover the successes and challenges for disabled staff in lifelong learning. All learners need to see disabled people working positively as good role models.”

Anyone interested in submitting evidence to the Commission of Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning can do so in a number of accessible formats including online at: www.niace.org.uk/projects/commissionfordisabledstaff/consultations.htm.

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