The QAA (2000) Code of Practice provides a clear challenge, and a possible answer, to those planning fieldwork. Precept 2 (The Physical Environment) states:
"Institutions should ensure that disabled students can have access to the physical environment in which they will, study, learn, live and take part in the social life of their institution."
The guidance goes on to say, inter alia:
"Institutions should consider:
- flexible and imaginative approaches to enabling alternative means of participation where physical access is impossible or unreasonably difficult;
- flexibility regarding where classes are held, including moving teaching from inaccessible lecture theatres/classrooms to more accessible ones."
Whilst most of the guidance accompanying this precept is concerned with the physical environment of the institution itself, it would be unreasonable to assume that off-campus activity should not be subject to the same guidance in principle.
Given the scenario that a particular fieldwork exercise normally involves a particular activity, at a specific location, and that the group of students on this occasion includes a student or students with mobility impairments which means that they cannot readily access the site, and/or cannot readily carry out the activity, there are perhaps five broad strategies that can be followed:
Page updated 14 December 2001
GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 114 6