All students must be able to meet the ‘core competencies’ (knowledge and skills) of their chosen course of study. Disabled students (those with autism spectrum conditions, sensory impairments, long-term medical conditions, specific learning difficulties, mental health difficulties, physical impairments) may meet substantial barriers to achieving those competencies. ‘Reasonable adjustments’ are put in place to address those substantial barriers to achievement.
What is ‘reasonable’ depends upon the student’s course of study, their disability, the physical constraints of buildings and estate, the relevant interests of other students and the resources of the University. Additionally, professional bodies such as the General Medical Council, British Psychological Society, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have professional competencies that students must be able to achieve and demonstrate in order to practice. Reasonable adjustments made for academic study thus may not be made for professional, placement elements of courses.
What do students need to do to have adjustments made?
Students who need reasonable adjustments because of a disability must provide the University with evidence of their disability in order that adjustments can be considered. Evidence should be provided to the Student Support Service. These details will be passed on to the relevant parts of the University and yourselves to enable you to pass this information on to the relevant parties.
What if students do not want staff to know they have a disability?
Students who do not wish to disclose their disability to their School of Study are likely to find that the reasonable adjustments that can be made for them will be limited.
What reasonable adjustments can be made?
Below is a list of some of the most common reasonable adjustments made but it is not exhaustive. The Student Support Service works with individual students referring to medical evidence, Disability Liaison Officers, Tutors, Administrative staff, Assessments Officers and the recommendations of Educational Psychologists and Study Needs Assessors to determine appropriate reasonable adjustments.
The most common reasonable adjustment is an individual arrangement for academic examinations. This can comprise, for example, extra time for writing, rest breaks, use of a computer, individual invigilation, taking exams in a room with only a few other students. We also provide scribes and readers and combinations of arrangements appropriate to the individual. Requests for exam arrangements are made via the Student Support Service.
Non-medical helpers provide services such as: note taking for students who have difficulty taking lecture notes; specialist mentor support for those who, for example, have a long-term mental health condition or autism spectrum condition; practical assistance for help with study-related tasks such as accessing the library, orientation around campus; laboratory assistants; scribes for private study support and specialist tuition for dyslexia, dyspraxia, AD(H)D. These services are usually funded by the Disabled Students’ Allowance unless students are from the EU, overseas or studying a non-eligible course. These students will be funded by the University.
- Stickers to notify markers of a student’s autism spectrum condition or specific learning difficulty (coursework and exams).
- Appropriate timetabling of classes for students with mobility and sensory impairments.
- Networked access to text reading software (ClaroRead Plus).
- Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for students who would have difficulty exiting a building via the stairs in the event of an emergency.
- Provision for students needing guide dogs.
- Accommodation allocation according to students’ disability-related requirements.
- Liaison between the Student Support Service, Hub and academic staff over effects of disabilities on students’ attendance and/or work outputs generating reasonable adjustments appropriate to the individual.
- Meetings with a named Adviser in the Student Support Service.
- Provision of assistive technologies on loan from the Student Support Service.
Who has information about students’ reasonable adjustments?
The Student Support Service must have written permission from students to disclose sensitive personal information such information about their disability. Students can restrict what it disclosed and restrict to whom information is disclosed. However, students should be aware that if they do not wish to disclose their disability to their School, they are likely to find that the reasonable adjustments that can be made for them will be limited.
When written permission is given, the Student Support Service can then notify relevant others of the reasonable adjustments needed to facilitate their studies. The notification of a requirement for reasonable adjustments is sent to the relevant Learning and Teaching Service Hub and the School Disability Liaison Officer. The Hub staff will distribute to the Personal Advsers and Module Organisers so that staff teaching the student are aware of any adjustments they may need to make.