Troublesome transitions? Disabled students’ entry into and journey through higher education

Elisabet Weedon*, Sheila Riddell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Transitions in and out of education and training are part of the lifelong learning agenda as citizens are now expected to engage in learning throughout the lifespan (Scottish Executive, 2003; Field, 2006). Traditional higher education students will have experienced at least five transitions in their initial learning career, from first entry to school to leaving higher education. Non-traditional students may experience more transitions or find the transitions harder to cope with, for example, due to lack of knowledge and awareness of the norms and values of higher education (Lang and Robinson, 2003). Universities have also transformed considerably having changed from being institutions for a small elite to catering for a much wider range of students. Universities are now managed differently which includes target setting in relation to widening participation (see e.g. Riddell, Tinklin and Wilson, 2005). While targeting and benchmarking offer one way of examining whether universities are increasing provision for disadvantaged groups it does not provide insights into the educational experiences of disadvantaged groups, including how they cope with transitions. This chapter examines the transition experiences of disabled students focusing on the following questions:

• What are the students’ experiences of transition into, passage through and exit from university?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImproving Disabled Students' Learning
Subtitle of host publicationExperiences and Outcomes
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780203609651
ISBN (Print)9780415480499, 9780415480482
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2013


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