What are reasonable adjustments? And why are they crucial for learners?
In the Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments are defined as the means taken to avoid a substantial disadvantage that a learner may face due to their disability.
These adjustments are split into three categories:
1 – Provisions, criteria and practices. For example, providing targeted learning interventions based on an apprentice’s specific needs throughout their programme.
2 – Physical features. For example, choosing an end-point assessment location for an apprentice with fibromyalgia, arthritis or a wheelchair that is accessible by automatic doors and has either a lift or a ground-floor assessment room.
3 – Provision of an auxiliary aid. For example, using colour overlays for apprentices who experience visual disturbances when reading due to Irlen syndrome or dyslexia.
However, times have changed since 2010. Other government rules and regulations have become more inclusive and flexible.
Yet, the application of Equality Act 2010 doesn’t take into account the needs of learners who don’t receive a formal diagnosis but still experience day to day difficulties with their learning. The lack of consensus can only leave providers unsure about their obligations and industry best practices.
The truth is that many people are unaware of the importance and impact of reasonable adjustments.
Each reasonable adjustment is a small but necessary step towards inclusivity in education, and they are a core part of providing quality education. Higher Education has a far greater provision when it comes to reasonable adjustments, and it’s vital we address the shortfall in the apprenticeship and skills sector quickly.
The good news is that providers don’t have to turn existing provisions on their head – they are, after all, called reasonable adjustments. Instead, it’s about working alongside learners, tailoring their support, and implementing changes to their education that are proportionate and provide learners with the means to achieve a legitimate aim.
Why are they important?
Reasonable adjustments are all about flexibility and equality.
We want to encourage discussions around reasonable adjustments on a case-by-case basis to discover the most effective ways to support learners’ individual needs.
For example, this could be through personalised learning strategies targeted to specific needs, extra time to meet deadlines, one-to-one time with tutors to ask questions, additional resource materials, equipment or software to support their needs. Tutors should be aware of the different ways to support their learner’s needs and receive training and support on how to adapt their communication methods.
These reasonable adjustments will have a direct impact on a learner’s journey and their endpoint assessment after Gateway.
It is an incredibly unfortunate reality that the hard work of the employer, education provider, tutor and learner can be completely undone through unintentional discriminatory barriers at end-point assessment.
Reasonable adjustments are there to prevent this kind of scenario and avoid non-completion of learners who otherwise perform well and are capable of doing their job.
Download our free handbook
- Where reasonable adjustments have the most impact for learners.
- The matrix for identifying the best reasonable adjustments to drive learner success.
- Guidance to create a successful application for your awarding organisation.
- Best practices on evidencing and execution.