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Terms and conditions

Accessibility and inclusion policy

This is FutureLearn’s accessibility statement and inclusion policy and applies to the FutureLearn websites. 

1. Introduction                               

1.1 This statement sets out FutureLearn’s accessibility statement and inclusion policy and applies to the FutureLearn websites. FutureLearn and its Partners (including all Universities) (hereafter referred to as “We”) recognise and value the diversity of our learners, and the requirements of FutureLearn’s Partners are detailed in clause 2.3. 

1.2 FutureLearn’s web presence consists of several million individual pages across numerous websites. We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites, and accessibility is an essential part of our mission. To adapt the content to your needs or preferences in most cases you should be able to:

1.2.1 Change colours, contrasts levels and fonts.

1.2.2 Resize text up to 200% without impact on the functionality of the website.

1.2.3 Zoom in up to 400% without loss of information or functionality, or the need to scroll in more than one direction.

1.2.4 Navigate the website using just a keyboard and allow users to:

1.2.4.1 tab to ‘Skip to content’ links at the top of the page to jump over repetitive information to the main content.

1.2.4.2 tab through the content; the current location will be indicated by a clear visual change.

1.2.4.3 control the embedded media player to play audio and video materials.

1.2.5 Use a screen reader (e.g. JAWs, NVDA) to:

1.2.5.1 listen to the content of web pages and use any functionality on the page.

1.2.5.2 list the headings and subheadings in the page and then jump to their location on the page.

1.2.5.3 bring up a list of meaningful links on the page.

1.2.6 Use transcripts or closed captions with most audio and video material; and 

1.2.7 In some cases, download learning materials in alternative formats (e.g. Word document, PDF, ePub, Kindle eBook).

1.3 We recognise that some of our learners will have particular needs and circumstances and we will strive to identify and respond to barriers to participation in our courses so that these can be reduced or removed. 

1.4 We view the diversity of our learners as a resource that enhances their learning experience and the experience of other learners. 

2. How accessible this website is:

2.1 We strive to exceed current accessibility standards. However, we know some elements of the FutureLearn websites are not fully accessible:

2.1.1 Older legacy and archived material.

2.1.2 Some third-party content not created by FutureLearn (including content produced by Universities or Partners). 

2.1.3 Sites linked from FutureLearn pages but not run by FutureLearn

2.1.4 Some activities (for example some of those involving maps, charts, graphs, online-experiments, interactive activities and features). 

2.1.5 Some content with specialised notations, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and music.

2.1.6 Some content created in tutorials.

2.1.7 Older PDFs and Word documents may not be fully accessible to screen reader software. 

2.1.8 The colour contrast for some text and some interface components may not provide enough contrast.

2.2 FutureLearn’s responsibilities: 

2.2.1 To develop a learning platform that aims to be compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2.1[1], so that we maximise learner participation.

2.2.2 To work with Partners to create ever more accessible courses that maximise learner participation.

2.2.3 To provide moderation to challenge any flagged language or behaviour of learners that may create an intimidating or hostile environment.

2.3 Responsibilities of Partners[2]

2.3.1 To strive to design courses with learning objectives that are achievable, whenever feasible and reasonable, for learners with particular impairments and learners for whom English is not their first language.

2.3.2 To identify and document aspects of course learning that may be challenging for learners with particular impairments so that learners can be informed of any challenges.

2.3.3 To avoid any action that could amount to unlawful discrimination under UK law, including failure to make reasonable adjustments to learning materials where necessary.

2.3.4 To develop courses that recognise, and represent learner diversity, so that learners can put in place or request adjustments that enable them to participate.

2.3.5 To work with FutureLearn to develop good practice that will create an inclusive learning environment and culture, so that we continuously improve the learner experience.

2.3.6 To work with FutureLearn to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. 

2.4 Feedback and Contact Information 

We aim to provide accessible alternative content or activities where we can. For more information please contact support@futurelearn.com.

3. Reporting accessibility problems with this website

3.1 We are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. We work continuously to increase the accessibility and usability of our website aiming to adhere to the guidelines set out in WCAG 2.1. Read our page on accessibility testing to find out how we’re currently doing.

3.2 We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our websites. If you find a problem that isn’t already listed on this page, please contact support@futurelearn.com which is monitored every weekday. We will ask you for the web address (URL) of the page and a description of the problem. We will also ask for your name and email address so that we can contact you about your feedback. You should expect to hear back from us within 5 working days.

4. Enforcement procedure

4.1 If you are a student, or someone who has had contact with FutureLearn before, and have a complaint about the accessibility of our websites, you can raise a complaint or ask for an update on your complaint here.

4.2 If you wish to contact us about anything not covered above, please email our support team

5. Technical Information – Compliance Status

5.1 FutureLearn is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. 

5.2 FutureLearn’s websites are partially compliant with the WCAG version 2.1  AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below in clause 6.

6. Non accessible content

The content listed below sets out the areas where FutureLearn is non-compliant with the WCAG 2.1 and the reasons for it.

6.1 Issues with technology – Current web technology is not capable of ensuring the accessibility of specialised notations (e.g. mathematics, chemistry, physics, music, phonetics etc.). We are monitoring developments in these areas and will improve our services as the technology matures. 

The level of accessibility during live events is limited. We are working closely with third-party suppliers and improving our internal systems to improve accessibility during live events.

FutureLearn may at times provide links to external websites that may not meet accessibility standards.

6.2 PDF and Word documents – Some of our older PDFs and Word documents may not provide the information required by assistive technology. We are striving to make older documents accessible and ensure new PDFs and Word documents published after September 2018 meet WCAG 2.1 standards. Some third-party documents may not be accessible. We are liaising with suppliers to increase provision of accessible documents as part of our document selection process. 

6.3 Images – Some purely decorative images (e.g. stock images) need to be marked as decorative within the code so screen reader technology can simply ignore these images. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 (Non-text content).

6.4 Navigating with the keyboard – Some interactive elements on the page such as links and buttons do not have a clear outline to show when they are in focus. This means that someone who is using the keyboard tab key to access these elements cannot be clear when a link or other element is in focus and can be activated. This fails WCAG success criteria 2.4.7 (Focus Visible).

6.5 Forms – Some forms do not have clear labels linked to input areas that are used by screen readers to provide information about how to complete the form. This makes it difficult for people using a screen reader to complete the form. This fails WCAG success criteria 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships).

FutureLearn is committed to addressing all of the above issues. We carry out regular site audits to identify and fix accessibility problems and when we publish new content, we strive to ensure it meets the highest possible accessibility standards.

7. Disproportionate burden

We are not claiming Disproportionate Burden at this domain level. 

8. Content not within the scope of the accessibility regulation

We do not have anything out of scope at this domain level. 

9. What we’re doing to improve accessibility

9.1 As we build new websites and digital services, we strive to ensure that they are accessible and comply with the current legislation. We also review and audit older sites to identify what changes we need to make to improve accessibility.

9.2 FutureLearn’s website development process has stages that test the usability and accessibility of new and updated platforms, activities and services against WCAG 2.1. These activities ensure that we are meeting and responding to the changing digital requirements of our students and users as well as developing and delivering systems and websites which are as accessible and usable as possible.

9.3 FutureLearn is committed to accessibility and demonstrates this in a number of different ways including holding regular meetings of a working group dedicated to addressing accessibility. 

10. Equality and Diversity Principles

10.1 We value diversity and we recognise that different learners bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture, and that this difference brings great strength.

10.2 We will not unlawfully discriminate or exclude based on individual characteristics or circumstances, such as age; disability; caring or dependency responsibilities; gender or gender identity; marriage or civil partnership status; political opinion; pregnancy and maternity; race, colour, caste, nationality, ethnic or national origin; religion or belief; sexual orientation; socio-economic background; trade union membership status, or other distinctions. Such discrimination represents a waste of talent and a denial of opportunity for self-fulfilment.

10.3 We will always aspire to create an inclusive teaching and learning environment by taking steps to identify barriers to learning and addressing these.

10.4 We respect the rights of individuals, including the right to hold different views and beliefs. We will work to prevent these differences being manifested in a way that violates any person’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for others.

10.5 We expect commitment and involvement from all our partners and members of the learning community in upholding our equality and diversity principles.

 11. Preparation of this accessibility statement

11.1 This statement was prepared on 23 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 23 September 2020.

11.2 This website was last tested on 19 November 2018. The test was carried out by an independent party. 

11.3 Our Accessibility Testing Page explains the approach we undertook. Further details can be found here.


[1] WCAG guidelines are recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), widely regarded as the leading authority on accessible web content. Following the guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, and will often make content more usable to learners in general. The guidelines are available online at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/.

[2] The Inclusive Learning Guidance document provides further information.