Positive action

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • Public sector

Which countries is it relevant to?

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Students with protected characteristics may be disadvantaged for social or economic reasons or for reasons to do with past or present discrimination. The Act contains provisions which enable education providers to take action to tackle the particular disadvantage, different needs or disproportionately low participation of a particular student group, provided certain conditions are met.

These are known as the positive action provisions and allow (but do not require) education providers to take proportionate action to remedy the disadvantage faced by particular groups of students. Such action could include targeted provision or resources or putting in place additional or bespoke provision to benefit a particular disadvantaged student group.

Positive action is not the same as positive discrimination which involves preferential treatment for a particular disadvantaged student group which does not meet the positive action conditions.

It is never unlawful to treat disabled students (or applicants) more favourably than non-disabled students (or applicants).

Positive action is covered in more detail in Admissions.

Last updated: 19 Feb 2019

Further information

If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service.

Phone: 0808 800 0082

You can email using the contact form on the EASS website.

Also available through the website are BSL interpretation, web chat services and a contact us form.


Opening hours:

9am to 7pm Monday to Friday
10am to 2pm Saturday
closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays

Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.