Support for disabled students and students with learning difficulties
We’re committed to being inclusive and accessible to all students in every aspect of student life
Your student disability officers
Your student disability officers will be your primary point of contact relating to your disability throughout your time on the course. You can get in touch with our disability team.
Letting us know about your disability
You can declare your disability at any time on our online booking and application system.
You can withdraw your declaration at any point. Doing so will affect any reasonable adjustments you may have had in place.
First, we need you to declare your disability or learning difficulty to us so that we can look at ways of putting in place reasonable adjustments based on the information you provide.
There are three ways to declare:
- On your course application form
- On your enrolment form
- At any time during your studies by accessing our online application system and clicking on the ‘Disability Declaration’ button on the top right-hand side of your dashboard
If you declare your disability on the application form, we can put in place adjustments for your interview, where appropriate.
Once you have declared your disability, one of our student disability officers will be in touch with you to arrange a meeting to discuss, in confidence, your needs.
Your meeting with a student disability officer
For more information about what to prepare for your meeting, please read our disability evidence section.
At your meeting, your student disability officer will work with you to draft a statement of reasonable adjustments form (SoRA) which will become the agreement between the Trust and you about what reasonable adjustments we will put in place specifically catering to your needs.
It asks for information about your disability and how it affects your learning. You will then discuss what reasonable adjustments you might need – you can make suggestions and the student disability officer may also have some suggestions based on their previous experience. However, it won’t be until after the meeting when the student disability officer has liaised with other departments that reasonable adjustments can be agreed.
The student disability officer will also discuss with you your DSA application (where relevant – DSA can only be applied for if you are studying on a university-accredited programme) and offer you advice and support to complete it. It may be that temporary adjustments need to be put in place while you await the outcome of the DSA application.
The adjustments that can be put in place are on a case-by-case basis and will be different for every student, with just a few examples listed below.
- We will agree a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) for students who have a physical disability so that you would have safe exit from the building in the event of an emergency.
- We may be able to arrange for specialist equipment where required for a physical disability and these needs would be discussed during the meeting with the student disability officer (SDO).
- If you have dyslexia or another specific learning difficulty (SpLD) or sight impairment, you may be able to have copies of the lecture notes or be given permission to record sessions. Recording sessions needs to be done with the agreement of everyone in the room, and you will be bound by the Trust’s data protection policy in these cases. Please note that in the event of recording teaching sessions there are specific encryption requirements for equipment being used – this will be discussed with you during your meeting.
- You may also be able to get help with your assessments, such as a cover sheet to guide markers or we might be able to re-design an assessment (for example, a presentation) for you so that you can still demonstrate you’ve met the learning outcomes in a different way.
After the meeting
After the meeting, the student disability officer will summarise the discussion in an email. They will liaise with relevant departments regarding reasonable adjustments.
The student disability officer will also send the draft statement of reasonable adjustments (SoRA) to the student disability lead to moderate. This step is to make sure that all students are getting equal access to resources and that the adjustments are fair and in line with our Trust policy, and that they are reasonable.
If you agree to share information with the course team, the second section of your SoRA will be sent to your course lead for reasonable adjustments to be agreed and action taken.
The moderator will sign this off and send it back to the student disability officer. At this point, the student disability officer will send it to you to sign. You can just reply to the email stating that you are in agreement with the SoRA, and this will be taken as formal sign-off if you can’t bring in a physical signed copy.
Changing your reasonable adjustments
If you already have a statement of reasonable adjustments in place and would like to have other equipment, for whatever reason, you will need to refer to your student disability officer. The student disability officer will then review the request in conjunction with the student disability lead.
If the equipment is requested for a condition not previously disclosed, then the student will need to provide evidence. We have a limited supply of equipment within the Trust, including chairs, keyboards and mice, and will consider on a case-by-case basis whether such equipment could be sent to a student to facilitate distance learning.
You don’t need to wait for the meeting with the student disability officer to complete your disabled student allowance (DSA) application; in fact, the waiting time to get the outcome of your application can be long, so we strongly advise you to begin your application as soon as possible before meeting with the student disability officer.
You can only apply for a DSA if you are registered on a university-accredited programme. You can review eligibility criteria and how to apply at the DSA website.
At your meeting with the student disability officer, you will need to provide evidence of your disability, SpLD or health condition at the meeting. This can be one of the following:
- a letter from a medical professional which is signed, dated and on headed paper
- medical certificates
- an educational health and care plan (EHCP)
- some state benefit statements e.g. personal independence payment (PIP)
- a diagnostic report confirming a specific learning difficulty
- a ‘DSA Needs Assessment Report’ or entitlement letter
Please make sure you gather this information to take to your meeting.
If you do not have the diagnostic assessment, a student disability officer can help you to obtain this. Please contact us for help and please note that there will a fee applicable for a formal disability assessment. If you are unable to pay the fee you may be eligible for support from our hardship fund, which you can discuss during the meeting.
If you need urgent help
If you have a flare-up of your condition, your condition deteriorates suddenly or you are newly diagnosed with a health condition or disability, there is help available to you.
We would urge you to contact us at the first opportunity to discuss your situation and your options.