“What should I say to my employer… if anything?"- My disability disclosure dilemma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

  • Jennifer Marshall
  • Colm Fearon
  • Marianne Highwood
  • Katy Warden

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the key issues surrounding teacher/staff disability disclosures in the UK's further education (FE) sector.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted in a medium-sized FE college (case study) setting in the South East of England. To compare the experiences, views and perceptions of leaders, managers and teachers, interviews were carried out with leaders and managers who are accountable for ensuring disability legislation is adhered to, and with teachers who are responsible for complying with equality and disability legislation. The 15 interviewees who volunteered to take part in this research represent the various layers of the organisational structure and different academic departments in the college.

Findings

Two major themes discussed include: the desire for teaching staff to “come out” and make a disability disclosure and the perception of disability as a “deficit”. A number of staff that disclosed their hidden disabilities stated they would not do so again. To avoid the negative side effects, developing a “culture of disability disclosure” and providing long-term employer support are required.

Research limitations/implications

This is an exploratory qualitative case study that highlights some of the key issues from a teacher/staff perspective. It is not meant to be generalisable research, but the ideas therein should help to develop a wider (empirical) research agenda.


Originality/value

There is an abundance of critical and sociological research concerning disability disclosure in general; there are also a number of scholarly studies that focus on disability issues from the student perspective. However, this is the first scholarly study that explores the key issues involving FE staff.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Early online date28 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • disability disclosure, labelling theory, ableism, further education, teachers