Inclusivity is a way of ensuring that all students on a course can gain maximum benefit from opportunities to learn, irrespective of background. It incorporates the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010, together with accepted good practice. Inclusivity covers both what people learn and how they learn.
Every aspect of learning and teaching should have inclusivity at its core.
The nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 are:
- gender reassignment;
- marriage and civil partnership;
- pregnancy and maternity;
- religion and belief;
- sexual orientation.
Government funding for disabled students has undergone review, and significant cuts have been made to some of the funds universities were receiving. Learning support assistance is no longer funded, which is impacting on, for example, studio assistance, note-taking, help in keeping students on task and assisting in understanding. The government believes the cost of one-to-one support can be reduced – or even eliminated – if universities create a more inclusive environment for their students.
At the same time, the student population has been changing as society has become more diverse and as a result of the UK’s success in attracting international students. Their needs must be met under the Equality Act and UCA’s commitment to inclusive practice.
Among the benefits for you when your teaching is fully inclusive are:
Students are more likely to be successful in your classes if you are creating activities that are relevant to their different backgrounds, cultures, abilities and learning styles.
They are more likely to engage with the ideas that you are offering – students connect with ideas and materials that are relevant to them – and to be comfortable developing ideas and asking questions in class.
You are therefore likely to spend less time doing one-to-one work or in email correspondence with struggling students.