The History of the Disability Discrimination Act Part IV (2001) also known as SENDA (Special Educational Needs and Disability Act)
The original Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was enacted in 1995 and notably excluded education. Instead of an Act of Parliament, Education was governed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Education in their Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education (section 3: Students with Disabilities) 1999. This meant that whenever the Higher Education institutions came under assessment, their provision and adherence to the QAA's precepts in Section 3 would be included in the overall grading. In this way, each institution was really only accountable to itself and how far it needed or wished to be graded well in the QAA assessments which most institutions only face every 4 years or so. Another means of accountability was needed to embed the culture of inclusion that the QAA promoted.
In 2001 Part IV was added to the DDA and governed education! More specifically, from September 2002, it became illegal for providers of post-16 education and related services to discriminate against students with disabilities in admissions and enrolment and in any services put on specifically for students. This does not just include teaching and learning but the whole range of opportunities and facilities, for example, student trips, leisure facilities and cafeteria, libraries and learning centres, work experience and student accommodation.
The timetable for raising the base-line levels of accessibility for students with varying disabilities is staggered over a number of years so from September 2003, institutions have an obligation to provide "auxiliary aids and services" (that is additional aids or staff - such as additional software for a partially sighted student or extra tutoring for a dyslexic student) are required from September 2003 · Adjustments involving changes in physical features are required from September 2005.
See SENDA (Word) if you would like to view the actual legal text of the legislation.
Your rights under the DDA are also clarified in a document produced by SKILL (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities).