Blind Bridlington student Daniel ‘forced to quit university due to lack of support’

A blind student from Bridlington said he was forced to quit his university course following institutional failures in providing disability support.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 9:35 am
Bridlington student Daniel Swain.
Bridlington student Daniel Swain.

Daniel Swain, 19, who is registered blind, landed a place to study Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.

However, when he started the course he realised that the university had overlooked his Learning Support Plan (LSP).

Daniel said has been let down by the university and wants to make sure this does not happen to other students.

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He said: “The University has a disability and dyslexia support service with advisers whop work with disabled students on an LSP, which is circulated with the lecturers.

“It was the file was sent well in advance but when the course started I noticed the university was not taking the steps needed to support me.

“I quickly learned it had overlooked the support plan, so the lecturers weren’t aware that I had a disability. A lot of the teaching materials also did not meet accessibility standards. This meant I felt less able to participate in lectures and seminars because I’d been less able to prepare for them.

“This led to me getting behind. I felt that I wasn’t getting the same experience as the other students on the course, so I thought the best thing for me to do was to drop out.”

A University of Sheffield’s spokesperson said: “We are very sorry that a Learning Support Plan was not fully implemented by a students’ department at the start of the last academic year.

“We are working proactively with our Students’ Union to improve our disability support and producing extensive guidance on implementing Learning Support Plans and the recommendations they make.”

In a joint statement, Sheffield Students’ Union’s Liberation Officer Shona Tulloch and Disabled Students Officer, Iz Ostrowska said: “What happened to this student is completely unacceptable.

“We also know from personal experience that some of the key issues raised are not unique to this case.

“Following our Officer role review this year, we now have both a Liberation Officer and Disabled Students’ Officer in place ensuring that our SU can more effectively represent disabled students at the University of Sheffield.

“We will be prioritising this issue and are working in partnership with the University to make sure that this never happens to another student in the future.”