We want everyone who uses our website to be able to find, read and understand our content.
When we create content we work to achieve and maintain WCAG 2.1 AA standards, we are committed to making our websites and mobile applications accessible, in accordance with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 No.952.
This accessibility statement applies to all websites, mobile applications and relevant digital content that we own, which falls within the remit of the above-mentioned legislation and the Equality Act 2010 as appropriate.
This website is partially compliant with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 No.952, as we are in the process of reviewing and auditing our web presence.
We work to achieve and maintain WCAG 2.1 AA standards, but it is not always possible for all our content to be accessible. Where content is likely to create a barrier, we'll state a reason, warn users and offer alternatives.
If we have failed to identify a barrier, please contact us.
Preparation of this accessibility statement
This statement was prepared on 19 September 2019.
The declaration made in this statement regarding compliance with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 No.952 is accurate and based on an evaluation of the website's compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG) to AA standard.
For information on our self-assessment auditing process and to see how our checks align with the WCAG 2.1 AA please fill in our feedback form.
We aim to ensure that all content we create is compatible with assistive technology such as screen readers, magnifiers and text converters.
Access digital services
View the site your way
You can change the colours, contrast levels, font styles and magnify the page to 200 per cent or more without the text spilling off the screen.
Tools and plugins to help your online experience
Explore some of our recommendations for tools that can make your online experience better.
If you're a student, our virtual learning environment, Blackboard provides an integrated accessibility tool (Ally) that enables you to download content into a variety of alternative formats to suit your needs.
Using different devices
My Computer My Way (MCMW) provides guidance on how to use assistive technologies on a wide range of devices.
Navigating by headings
Use browser plugins or assistive technology such as a screen reader to list the headings and subheadings in the page and go straight to the heading you need.
Navigating by links
Use assistive technology such as a screen reader to get a list of all the links on a page. The link text will give convey the purpose of the link.
Navigating by keyboard
When navigating by keyboard you can see a particular interactive element, such as links and form fields through a highlighted outline.
Skip to content
Use a keyboard to find the skip links and jump directly to the main content on the page.
Listening to content
Use text-to-speech browser plugins or assistive technology to listen to content you select with the mouse or keyboard.
With a screen reader, you can listen to the content and navigate through the site pages and menus.
Video and downloads
Many video platforms such as YouTube, provide automated closed captions but, if you have difficulty accessing video content, please contact us:
We publish documents that can be downloaded in a range of formats, including Word documents, Powerpoint and PDFs. We want as many people as possible to be able to use those documents. For example, when we produce a document we make sure to:
- provide an HTML option where possible
- tag headings and other parts of the document properly, so screen readers can understand the page structure
- make sure we include alt text alongside non-decorative images, so people who can't see them understand what they're there for
avoid using tables, except when we're presenting data
- write in plain English
New documents we publish and documents you need to download or fill in to access one of the services we provide should be fully accessible.
However, we know that some of our older documents (published before 23 September 2018) aren't accessible. For example, some of them:
- are just photocopies and aren't marked up in a way that allows screen reader users to understand them
- aren't tagged up properly - for example, they don't contain proper headings
- aren't written in plain English
This mostly applies to our policies, some teaching material and meeting minutes documents. These types of documents are exempt from the regulations, so we don't currently have any plans to make them accessible.
But if you need to access information in one of these document types, you can contact us and ask for an alternative format by filling in our feedback form.
Third party content
Our site includes third party content and functionality. This may direct you to a related service, a partner we work with, or supporting documentation. We cannot always guarantee its accessibility.
Your feedback counts and please tell us if you have any problems, or if you find anything particularly useful, so that we can highlight these with third parties:
Links to other websites
We link to other websites that may benefit our users. This may include:
- news websites
- social media platforms
- official information sources, such as The Met Office, GOV.UK or nhs.uk.
We are not responsible for the accessibility of these or any other websites we do not manage.
Audit and improving accessibility
We undertake formal accessibility audits of the website on a yearly basis using WCAG 2.1 AA standards which guide our long-term audit and improvement plans.
We tested our virtual learning environment, Blackboard, in August 2019 with an accessibility tool (Ally) which highlights issues and provides suggestions to improve the content. As a result, we are implementing improvements, such as the contrast of documents.
We work to achieve and maintain WCAG 2.1 AA standards, but it is not always possible for all our content to be accessible.
What we're doing to improve accessibility
We're creating an accessibility roadmap to show how and when we plan to improve accessibility on this website. We will publish this on this website.
Please contact us via our feedback form if you have any problems. Be as specific and detailed as you can. Please also tell us what you like and find useful.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has useful tips on contacting organisations about inaccessible websites.
Alternatively, our helpdesk can connect you to a named individual or help you find the appropriate department if you require specific information.
- Calls from the UK: 0114 222 1111
- International calls: +44 114 222 2111
The helpdesk telephones are staffed from Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.
If you have reported a problem with our website or asked for an alternative format and you are not happy with our response, please contact us to register your difficulty. This will help us improve our systems.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the accessibility regulations. If you're not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).
This statement was last updated on 19 September 2019. We update this statement annually and will next review it in September 2020.