This week’s network hub: The National Association of Disability Practitioners, aiming to improve education for disabled students
The NADP has more than 600 members and was founded in 1999. It seeks to improve the professional development and status of disability services staff in the post-16 education sector through education, communication and leadership.
History: Using existing networks, David Laycock from the University of Westminster shared his vision of a post-compulsory education organisation that provided the best possible services for disabled students. A small group took the idea forward and the first executive was formed. Membership increased rapidly and NADP’s influence has been growing ever since. It is one of a few national organisations that is frequently consulted on developments which could have an impact on disabled students.
Fees: £82.50 a year for full members, less for associates, retired and student members. There is also an institutional rate.
Mission: promoting excellence in the quality and consistency of educational support services provided for students with disabilities.
Main activities: NADP networks closely with other relevant organisations, including the Disability Rights Commission, National Network of Assessment Centres and SKILL (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities).
There is an email list for exchanging views and information and technical briefings are published regularly. These are free for members and available for a small fee to others. Subjects covered include the role of the disability officer, dyslexia, and support for students with Asperger’s syndrome.
NADP produces a practitioner journal twice a year and is moving towards a refereed journal as the standard of contributions warrants this. An expert editorial board has been formed of experienced practitioners and academics in the field of disability studies.
The next journal will focus on the progress organisations are making with the implementation of disability equality schemes.
As well as hosting fully accessible practitioners’ conferences, special interest groups are occasionally formed within NADP to focus on matters that are pertinent at a particular time.
Regional groups: Conferences are organised regionally to cover the north and the south of the country, and executive meetings also take place in various regional locations.
Good practice examples: NADP is known for effective networking, useful and professional conferences and sound publications aimed at practitioners. Last year’s conferences focused on effective services for students who have Asperger’s syndrome where the students contributed alongside practitioners. Evaluations were excellent. Extensive use is made by practitioners of the legal helpline, set up to answer queries mainly around disability legislation.
Upcoming events: The next event will be the annual conference on 3-4 July in Daventry, Northamptonshire. The theme is supporting the practitioner.
On 7 November the autumn conference in Manchester will focus on the experience of deaf students. This is the re-run of the spring conference which took place in the south and received excellent reviews, not least of all because of the contribution of deaf students.
Your Patch: Disabled students and the National Association of Disability Practitioners
Essential information on courses and careers