Implement accessibility from beginning to end

Delivering an accessible learning experience is everyone’s responsibility. All staff must be supported to play their part in making this happen.

Learning platforms and materials should be accessible from the beginning: accessible-by-design.

Anyone creating content should ensure what they create is accessible, including teachers/lecturers when producing lecture notes, presentation slides and class handouts and IT staff when creating content for the website or a virtual learning platform.

College’s accessibility policies should support staff to deliver content which meets basic accessibility standards. This means:

Find out more about creating an accessibility culture at your college:

LexDis guidance on building a community approach to meeting the regulation requirements

Making documents accessible

The good news is, it is simple to make documents meet a basic level of accessibility, use the helpful resources below to make sure you never produce an inaccessible document again!

Top tip: We would recommend that learning materials such as lecture notes, handouts, etc. should be provided to blind and partially sighted students in Word document format, rather than PDFs. Word documents are more customisable and can be reformatted more easily. If PDFs are used, it is vital they are tested for accessibility before being given to the student.

Useful resources for making documents accessible

Microsoft Office documents

PDF documents

Other useful resources

External publishers and platforms

Accessibility issues with core documents such as exams or reading material are not purely the domain of the college to fix. Exam boards and academic publishers should be doing more to make exams accessible-by-design. You can find out about the accessibility of publishers in the ASPIRE publishers list.


This guidance has been created in response to research from All Able Ltd and commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust that looked at blind and partially sighted students’ access to information and assistive technology in mainstream FE. This showed a lack of inclusive practice creating a barrier to accessibility.  Read about this research


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