Disability Equality & Inclusion

We’re committed to enhancing the experiences of our staff and students who have a disability, so that everyone is fully supported to flourish and meet their full potential. 

Disability Strategy Steering Group

Continuing on from the work of the Disability Inclusion Task & Finish group, as of October 2020 the Disability Strategy Steering Group will convene and work collaboratively to develop a University level disability strategy and action plan. This will aim to address the challenges experienced by staff and students with a disability, and reduce differential outcomes in attainment and progression. 

Our Deputy Vice-President for Education, Professor Brendan Stone is Chair of the Disability Strategy Steering Group and is passionate about ensuring there are equal opportunities for staff and students across the Higher Education sector.  The group brings together staff and students with relevant knowledge and expertise, many of whom have a disability. It includes representatives from our staff and student networks, the Students’ Union, HR Organisational Development, Student Support Services, Campus Services, Digital Engagement, Faculty and Professional Services ED&I teams and campus trade unions.

Taking a holistic, collegial and ambitious approach to disability equality and inclusion, the Disability Strategy Steering Group is currently working on the foundations for a disability inclusion strategy to develop and inform a University-level action plan.

Professor Brendan Stone

Chair of the Disability Strategy Steering Group and ​​​​​Interim Chair of the Disability Staff Network

University-wide consultation for staff and students

Help us shape our disability inclusion strategy and action plan 

We all have a responsibility to improve the experiences of our disabled staff and students and to do this we need to listen to and learn from the perspectives of disabled people. The Disability Strategy Steering Group has been working on a consultation survey which provides an opportunity for staff and students to: 

  • input into and help shape the strategy and action plan
  • share your views on disability inclusion here at the University
  • provide feedback on work done to date and propose progressive actions to bring about positive change

Although this consultation is aimed primarily at disabled staff and students, it is open to all including postgraduate researchers - everyone with an interest in progressing disability equality and inclusion is encouraged to take part.

Staff Survey

The staff survey ran from 28 January and closed on 12 March.  An analysis of the quantitative and qualitative responses is now taking place.

Student Survey

Our students receive a customised version of the questions.  This survey is now open as of 16 March - having been scheduled to a more suitable time for them - and will close at midnight on Friday 30 April 2021.

Terms of Reference - Disability Strategy Steering Group 


Both the terms ‘disabled staff/student’ and ‘staff/students with a disability’ are used to reflect and respect the differences in individuals’ choice of language and identity.

The definition of disability, under the Equality Act 2010, is “a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ negative effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities”.  

At the University of Sheffield, we consider disability in its widest context and this includes, but is not limited to, physical disabilities, neurodiversity / specific learning difficulties / learning differences (e.g dyslexia), autism, mental health conditions, chronic health conditions and sensory impairments and also recognise that not all disabilities are visible or permanent.


The Disability Strategy Steering Group will:

  1. Seek to identify and understand key issues relating to disabled staff and students. This will include a University-wide consultation exercise with staff and students
  2. Review and discuss both the findings from the consultation and the proposed considerations from the Task & Finish Group, with the aim of recommending realistic and achievable priorities for action, considering both short-term and long-term actions
  3. Consider a new model for, and the re-launch of, a Disability Staff Network to ensure it is operational and sustainable
  4. Draft an action plan and strategy to be presented to the Council Equality Diversity & Inclusion Committee
  5. Oversee the implementation of the action plan and support the specific objectives of the strategy. To include establishment of a delivery plan and collaboration with a delivery group
  6. To advise the Council Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee, UEB, and University Council on ways to promote disability equality and inclusion at the University, and keep these committees updated on progress

Strategy aims

The Disability Inclusion Strategy will aim to:

  • Establish and meet the needs of staff and students with a disability
  • Create an inclusive culture to ensure that our disabled students and staff are fully supported to flourish and meet their full potential
  • Bring about culture change by developing actions to enhance university-wide knowledge/understanding and to remove and reduce environmental, attitudinal and organisational barriers at TUOS to level the playing field
  • Reflect and learn from the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our disabled staff and students and continue to develop best practice
  • Recognise the intersectionality of disability and mental health. However there will be separate working paths to make progress in both areas which are currently at different stages
  • Educate and empower our community, creating an institution of choice for people with disabilities


Membership of the group brings together staff and students with relevant knowledge and expertise, many of whom have a disability. Membership will ensure representation from stakeholders across the institution.

Chair: Professor Brendan Stone, Deputy Vice-President for Education

Steering Group Members:

HR Organisational Development
Hannah Morgan, Head of Organisational Development
Zaidah Ahmed, HR Manager ED&I
Sarah Statham, HR Adviser ED&I
Louise Mackay, HR Manager Health & Wellbeing

Student Support Services
Susan Bridgeford, Head of Student Services
Bryan Coleman, Head of Disability and Dyslexia Support Service
Chris Webb, Assistant Director Specific Learning Differences Tutorial Service

Disability Staff Network
Professor Janet Brown, Disability Staff Network Committee Representative

Campus Services EFM & Professional Services ED&I Representative
Lisa Woods, Head of Campus Services

Digital Corporate Communications & Digital Accessibility
Steve Thompson, Head of Digital Engagement

Faculty Director ED&I
Professor Katherine Linehan, Faculty Director ED&I Science

Students’ Union
Lauren Simpson, Associate Director of Membership
Lily Grimshaw, Women’s Officer
Luke Nash, Chair of Disabled Students’ Committee
Further student representation - to be confirmed

Strategic Change Office
To be confirmed

Trade Union Representatives
Themesa Neckles (UCU)
Martha Foulds (Unite ED&I)


All data, information and discussions within the DSSG group must remain confidential, and must not be circulated or discussed outside of the group unless otherwise agreed


Reports to: Council Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, providing updates at ED&IC meetings in October 2020, February 2021 and June 2021.


The group will meet four times between October 2020 and June 2021 working in between meetings where necessary. Meeting dates: 27 October 2020, 11 January 2021, 30 March 2021 and 11 June 2021.

Last updated: 16 March 2021