• Student kicked off degree after year spent fighting for adjustments

    A disabled student has been kicked off her degree after her first year – leaving her with student loan debts of more than £17,000 – after her university refused to make the adjustments she needed to ensure the course was accessible.

    Lesley Bayly-Bureau says she has been unlawfully discriminated against by City University in London after having to spend her entire first year arguing unsuccessfully for the simple but vital reasonable adjustments she had previously been given throughout school and college.

    A complex set of health conditions – including Hashimoto’s disease; a rare condition associated with a faulty DIO2 gene; and hyperinsulinism, which, possibly uniquely, later turned into type one diabetes – means she tires easily, often finds it difficult to concentrate, and is prone to seizures when her blood sugar levels drop.

    She tried repeatedly to provide evidence of these conditions to the university, but staff refused to accept it.

    And when she asked for extra time to carry out her assignments, her tutor told her: “We can’t just give special treatment to one student but not the rest. How is it fair that you have a deadline a week later and other students don’t?”

    Instead, he told her to fill out a 10-page “extenuating circumstances” form every time she missed a deadline, which meant she had to describe her history and medical background in detail nearly every week, and provide the necessary medical evidence.

    The only adjustment she was given was an extra 20 minutes for each 150-minute exam.

    She was only asked to provide evidence of her health conditions at the end of her first term, after she had complained about her treatment, even though she had asked for extra time for her assignments at the beginning of her course.

    The university assessment board that made the decision to throw her off the three-year psychology degree course last month was not given any personal information about her, so its members had no idea that Bayly-Bureau’s entire year had been affected by her deteriorating health and the failure to provide her with reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.

    The university’s refusal to provide the reasonable adjustments she needed, combined with seven emergency admissions to hospital during the year, increased the stress she was facing and made it increasingly difficult to complete her assignments, and left her with severe depression.

    The university also failed to provide her with a specialist mentor to help her with her problems with mathematics – she has dyscalculia – even though she had been awarded government funding to pay for this support through the disabled students’ allowance system.

    Bayly-Bureau said the university should not still be so ignorant about discrimination, five years after the Equality Act was introduced. She is now appealing the university’s decision.

    She said: “As a student who is spending £9,000 a year, I should not be kicked out of my course due to an error made by City University.

    “You don’t put a disabled student in the same box as a non-disabled student. How is that equal?

    “It is absolutely ridiculous. It made me feel very angry. I felt as though they were saying, ‘We have got your £9,000 [in tuition fees], we don’t care about you, you can go away now.’

    “What I am passionate about now is proving them wrong and ensuring this doesn’t happen to other students at City University and other universities.”

    A City University spokeswoman said she could not comment on the case because of the ongoing appeal, but added: “Staff members who are dealing with the appeal will be in contact with the student concerned.”

    News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

    Aden

    Aden

    Hi I'm Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

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    • Paul Horsfield

      I hope the decision gets overturned and the University is forced to supply the support that is needed, The way this girl has been treated is disgusting, a lot of young people would have given up trying with half of the issues she has, the fact she is prepared to work towards gaining her degree should have been highlighted and she should have been given every kind of support to allow her to achieve it.

      • Linden Allen

        Simple question (having read all of the above) would you really want to go and see her for psychological analysis & help?? She can’t even deal with issues involved in being a 1st year uni student!

        • Paul Horsfield

          By the sounds of it she would be more empathic and have a better understanding of the psychological issues people suffer than you would. It looks like you are unable to realise that different people have different issues, deal with them in different ways and require different levels of support, It also looks like you have never dealt with young people with learning difficulties, these kids are just as capable and in some cases far more intelligent but require different methods to get what they need to say put down on paper. In view of your comments I would guess that you would say that Leonardo Da Vinci or Nikola Tesla would not be competent to sit an exam as they would need extra time for being Dyslexic.

          • Linden Allen

            1. What has empathy got to do with competency? Somebody might have all the empathy in the world, but that has no bearing on how well they can perform their job. If you haven’t got the quals then you aren’t fit for the role!
            2. Of course I’m aware that different people have different issues to deal with; its how they deal with them that makes all the difference…….Not whining about it is a good start!
            3. Having worked with and supported many children over the years both mainstream and statemented, I am fully aware of the numerous methods children and young people use to communicate their ideas and understanding – I’ve designed some myself.
            4. I grew up in an era when people were allowed to fail, and fail early on – they weren’t knocked for it. Failing is now, just as it was then, part of life. Not the greatest lesson in life to have to learn, but a necessary one, which learned early enough, was remembered for the rest of one’s life. Sadly our whole education system has been infected with the idea that competition is bad, everyone’s a winner and nobody fails, well thats garbage, the REAL world isn’t like that and the sooner every young person learns this then the better is for them!
            5. I doubt very much that either Tesla or Da Vinci went to their tutors asking for more time in an exam because they had Dyslexia – so its a bit of a moot point really isn’t it??
            In my relatively short time Iv’e been on this planet I’ve fought against the prejudice that comes hand in hand with the ignorance people have about disabilities – written off at school as thick because I was an undiagnosed dyslexic. I fought back refusing to accept the label and confounded those around me by succeeding in joining the Army, becoming an accountant, a SNCO training instructor. Unfortunately, I lost my leg and since then have worked tirelessly ensure that neither I nor my compatriots are treated in any way less than anybody else. I returned to education, finished Uni etc. and now work full time as an LSTA, despite going through the ‘system’ to gain my quals doesn’t mean for one minute that I’m not capable of recognising the faults within it.

            • Paul Horsfield

              Well it’s a shame this young girl isn’t a hero like you then isn’t it, if your experience is as you say I really feel for the people who have come in contact with your tough love way of dealing with things as I’ve been in the unfortunate position of having to rebuild kids that have had the confidence knocked out of them by just that style of hard inflexible treatment, even through your experiences you obviously still don’t grasp the fact that some people don’t always fit in to the perfect way you think they should. I do congratulate you though on finishing Uni and gaining your quals and all the other achievements you’ve stated it must have gone a long way to boost your superiority complex.

            • Linden Allen

              Well excuse me for not falling into a category or pigeon hole or accepting what others might choose to foist onto me by their own ignorance.. I doubt I’ve ever undermined anyone’s integrity or self confidence, I certainly haven’t ever set out to do it deliberately; I’m not that mean spirited – just practical. I’ve actually gone out of my way to learn, develop and expand my knowledge of young people. I agree that nobody is perfect, but in my experience (which must be so much less that yours) all the children/young people I’ve ever worked with have want to be viewed (by their peer group and the world in general etc.) as just the same as any other kid – not ‘special’, ‘not different’, nor do they want different treatment for anybody else – the older they get, the more self conscious they are and the more this matters! Its a fine very line between helping someone and undermining them and that is the line that I walk! As for being a hero; somehow I don’t think so, a ‘survivor’; but I will just add this – I’ve worked dam hard for what I’ve got, over a long period of time by self application and continuity – I did not, like some others, go whining and playing on my disabilities to gain an unfair advantage over my fellow students. Clearly you’ve never been in, or lived in the real world……It appears from condescending & abusive remarks at the bottom of your last message you have little of worth left to bring to conversation! Say Hi to Noddy for me..

            • Paul Horsfield

              I’m glad that you’ve not allowed yourself to be pigeon holed but it looks like you’re not beyond doing it to other people by automatically assuming that students who need support are whiners and playing on their disabilities. That shows to me that the kids you’ve worked with still had a level of self respect and self worth left to come to that conclusion, walking the line is a dangerous place to be and I guess you are so confident of your own abilities to see the risks that are inherent to that route. I see that you still don’t get it that some students with disabilities don’t do it to gain advantage but to get an even playing field, as their situation doesn’t allow them to achieve without that bit of neccessary support. As for never being in the real world, I guess you aren’t old enough to have gone South in ’82 or done tours in N.I. but there you go, it appears from your last butt hurt comment if you think that was condescending or abusive that you be a sensitive little soul and must have had a hard time during your time in. Noddy says “Hi” he hasn’t seen you for a long time.

            • Linden Allen

              Gosh, I didn’t realise I was talking to a real life war hero….. Don’t jump to conclusion without knowing all the facts sun beam. I walked the walk, I didn’t head off ‘down south’ as you put it, but did go to Kuwait & and the surrounding area(s) more than once hence my resolve as a survivor; however I don’t let my past experiences or lack of them define who I am today… Never met Noddy.

            • Paul Horsfield

              You mean jump to conclusions like you did with your “Clearly you’ve never been in, or lived in the real world…..” As for the war hero bit you brought up your vast experience in the Army so I just followed suit. It’s a shame that because you’ve had a hard time that you feel that no one else should get support but that says more about you than anything else. Noddy says you’re telling porkies, he’s met you several times when the circus has visited.

    • Shirl

      Why haven’t they been prosecuted for disability discriminations because you can bet your bottom dollar if it was an equalities, race, age or any other issue there would be a hue and cry.

    • Wow, amazing ignorance: “We can’t just give special treatment to one student but not the rest.”

    • Celia LL

      For people who supposedly hold Degrees, Masters and PHds they’re pretty ignorant!

    • Linden Allen

      If you know you have health problems (as an adult) you are expected to be able to deal with them! I’m diabetic to and know all to well, by recurrent symptoms, when my blood sugar levels are down – and I take the relevant action to alleviate the problem, so why doesn’t she??. It appears that to all intents and purposes Miss Bayly-Bureau is just not mature enough to be at a University! Obviously she’s been coddled through school and college (a very bad symptom of today’s education system where ‘nobody fails’) and is now faced with the real world where its make or break time without anybody there to hold your hand; i.e. you have to perform at the highest level, standing up for yourself……..

      Quote ““You don’t put a disabled student in the same box as a non-disabled student. How is that equal?” Why not, you’ve got a brain haven’t you?? If you don’t put everyone on the same level then how can you expect an employer to view your Degree in the same way as an able bodied applicant…….. I don’t hold with this ‘extra time’ milarlky if you aren’t capable of completing exams/tests in the relevant given time period then you aren’t competent to sit the exam – simples!

      By treating people differently from the norm all you would be doing is devaluing the qualifications of all those other disabled people (like me) who have worked our butts off to get where we want to be! As for being asked to repeatedly complete a 10 page medical questionnaire; make like the rest of us and use the photocopier…….

      I agree entirely that the Uni has behaved outlandishly but without seeing what the Uni has to say on the matter, this is only one side of the story!