Student kicked off degree after year spent fighting for adjustments


A disabled student has been kicked off her degree after her first year – leaving her with student loan debts of more than £17,000 – after her university refused to make the adjustments she needed to ensure the course was accessible.

Lesley Bayly-Bureau (pictured) says she has been unlawfully discriminated against by City University in London after having to spend her entire first year arguing unsuccessfully for the simple but vital reasonable adjustments she had previously been given throughout school and college.

A complex set of health conditions – including Hashimoto’s disease; a rare condition associated with a faulty DIO2 gene; and hyperinsulinism, which, possibly uniquely, later turned into type one diabetes – means she tires easily, often finds it difficult to concentrate, and is prone to seizures when her blood sugar levels drop.

She tried repeatedly to provide evidence of these conditions to the university, but staff refused to accept it.

And when she asked for extra time to carry out her assignments, her tutor told her: “We can’t just give special treatment to one student but not the rest. How is it fair that you have a deadline a week later and other students don’t?”

Instead, he told her to fill out a 10-page “extenuating circumstances” form every time she missed a deadline, which meant she had to describe her history and medical background in detail nearly every week, and provide the necessary medical evidence.

The only adjustment she was given was an extra 20 minutes for each 150-minute exam.

She was only asked to provide evidence of her health conditions at the end of her first term, after she had complained about her treatment, even though she had asked for extra time for her assignments at the beginning of her course.

The university assessment board that made the decision to throw her off the three-year psychology degree course last month was not given any personal information about her, so its members had no idea that Bayly-Bureau’s entire year had been affected by her deteriorating health and the failure to provide her with reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.

The university’s refusal to provide the reasonable adjustments she needed, combined with seven emergency admissions to hospital during the year, increased the stress she was facing and made it increasingly difficult to complete her assignments, and left her with severe depression.

The university also failed to provide her with a specialist mentor to help her with her problems with mathematics – she has dyscalculia – even though she had been awarded government funding to pay for this support through the disabled students’ allowance system.

Bayly-Bureau said the university should not still be so ignorant about discrimination, five years after the Equality Act was introduced. She is now appealing the university’s decision.

She said: “As a student who is spending £9,000 a year, I should not be kicked out of my course due to an error made by City University.

“You don’t put a disabled student in the same box as a non-disabled student. How is that equal?

“It is absolutely ridiculous. It made me feel very angry. I felt as though they were saying, ‘We have got your £9,000 [in tuition fees], we don’t care about you, you can go away now.’

“What I am passionate about now is proving them wrong and ensuring this doesn’t happen to other students at City University and other universities.”

A City University spokeswoman said she could not comment on the case because of the ongoing appeal, but added: “Staff members who are dealing with the appeal will be in contact with the student concerned.”

  • User Ratings (35 Votes)
  • Attila_The_Bun

    Personal Learning Plan? Where was that? My institution implemented extensive access upgrades on admitting a seriously disabled student. They had time from that person’s acceptance until their arrival to achieve this. It’s simply legal compliance, is it not – or simple humanity? If a student has an ongoing condition, a PLP is put in place and everyone adheres to it. Why not at City?

    • maryjane

      Because City has severe admin problems. I lost track of the many times my programme admin. send me the wrong letters, forms, etc

  • Psychology degree course? Well she’s got a really good case-study to work on.
    Here is a classic case of “King Canute” syndrome, or “Nelson’s (blind) Eye-itis”.
    There’s a clue in the Disabled Student Allowance’s name! Shocking prejudicial archaic management style typical of Dickensian attitudes, but in a university this is most worrying – what kind of graduates are they capable of turning out? What kind of people are they?
    Compared to Liverpool John Moores University’s student welfare style this is primitive. Fit for purpose? Not very.

    • maryjane

      you must be one of the lecturers at City, for sure.

      • Don’t know where you got that idea from. Re-read my comments and you’ll understand that I was being supportive of the student, not the one who criticised her!

  • Mwxxx .

    >”…to throw her off the three-year psychology degree course”

    Says it all really doesn’t it. That’s what you get from ‘It’s All Your Fault’ Psychologists. I hope that the student learns from this and finds a more um.. ‘worthwhile’ subject to persue.

    Breaking the Equality Act is not an ‘error’. She should find out what – ‘Using dishonesty to cause a loss’ – is…. Freud?(ah wrong vowel).


    • Probably an attitude of “pull yourself together and get on with it!” If only ………
      Do Carling do universities? Obviously not this one!

      • Msw3681 sw

        Keith Dipshit more like.

    • Msw3681 sw

      It has nothing to do with psychologists. Read the story. The Student was on a psychology degree and it was the university that was discriminatory, not psychologists. I have a psychology degree with the Open University, and their fees are cheaper and they are fabulous with all disabilities. They go the extra mile to ensure you can complete your degree. I am dyslexic and dyscalculic.

      • Mwxxx .

        Rrrrrreally… so what did her psychology department do to help her then?

        >I have a psychology degree
        Defending your ‘profession’? Try telling me that EMDR is ‘real’… go on. lol

        • Msw3681 sw

          So, I am in a department then am I? That is where I work? You have no idea where psychologists work then? This basically tells me you have no clue about much at all.

          • Who cares if you’re in a department? Let’s see, dyslexic and dyscalculic …….. are you sure you aren’t just plain dim? Or perhaps the problem is a personality defect.
            Degree proves nothing much, certainly not the presence of decency. I’ll say for sure that many psychiatrists do seem a little, well, different or batty don’t you think. Off the wall might be a better way to put it, or just plain crackers themselves!

          • And yes, I do know the difference between psychology and psychiatry.

          • Msw3681 sw

            OOps showing how much of a cretin you are. Dyslexia and dyscalculia have nothing to do with IQ. IQ is unaffected. What you should have said if you are smart, and I see with glee that you are not, was that in learning difficulties e.g. IQ below 70 means they are mentally challenged. Got that now dimwit?

          • maryjane

            go tell him right !

          • maryjane

            she has Hashimoto’s and a plethora of other health conditions. I’d like to see you cope with statistics and calculus when you have severe fatigue and concentration issues. Not to mention all the medication side EFFECTS

          • Mwxxx .

            > “So, I am in a department then am I?”
            Ummm, well to point out the insanely obvious… I wrote –
            ‘so what did HER psychology department do…’

            But according to you (Msw3681 sw) *I* am the one who doesn’t have a clue? And *other* people are the cretins and dimwits?

            More ‘confirmation bias’ for my, experience based, extremely low opinion of your vile ‘profession’.
            Keep chasing those emdr fairies around the bottom of your garden.
            fyi. just making stuff up is not science.

          • Msw3681 sw

            So you screw your wife with your nose then?

      • No psychologist teaching psychology! Ah, yes, that’s right – she was probably taught by a nuclear physicist or classics professor. Actually, possibly like you seem to have been?

  • maryjane

    yes, it comes as no surprise to most of us who already study at City. This University lies about their dropout rates (they quote 25% on some courses but it’s actually around 50%). It’s a terrible place to be, none of the lecturers are helpful or considerate. Just ask any law student there. I once visited UCL and they had a completely different atmosphere.

  • I rather think you should direct your bile at Msw3681 sw.
    He’s claiming the young lass has no complaint, does disagreeing with him make me me me he mentioned his afflictions. Personally I think he’s either an arrogant oaf or aggressive keyboard jockey – look at his other posts.
    Any UNI with such a bad attitude to disabilities is behaving neglectfully as well as callously.
    The course involved is quite ironic!