Supporting disabled students

Who we support, how we offer that support, and guidance on ensuring students receive the right information

Defining disability 

The university uses the Equality Act 2010 to define who is eligible for support.  

The Equality Act definition of disability states that:

”a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”

‘Normal day-to-day activities’ are activities individuals would do on a daily basis and includes activities relating to study, such as taking notes, writing, researching, reading large amounts of text, and moving between mulitple locations.

‘Substantial’ means more than minor or trivial.

‘Long term’ means has lasted or is likely to last 12 months or more. ‘Long term’ also means it is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person affected.

Who Disability Services supports

Disability Services works with students who:

  • are D/deaf or hearing impaired
  • are blind or visually impaired (when uncorrected by glasses)
  • have a physical disability, and/or mobility difficulties
  • have a specific learning difficulty (for example dyslexia or dyspraxia)
  • have a neurodevelopmental condition (for example ADHD)
  • have a neurological condition (for example, MS, Epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome, Stammer)
  • are autistic
  • have a mental health condition (for example significant depression or anxiety, OCD, eating disorder, schizophrenia)
  • have a long term medial condition (for example chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, diabetes, cancer, HIV)
  • have a developmental condition not listed above which affects motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills, and speech and language (for example some people with cerebral palsy or spina bifida)
  • have a combination of these

How we support disabled students 

Disability Services identifies reasonable academic adjustments for each disabled student’s learning, teaching and assessment and are responsible for sharing these adjustments and ensuring that they are implemented.

Students must register with Disability Services in order to access these adjustments, which could include:

  • receiving handouts and lecture presentations in advance
  • access to campus-based computers with assistive technology (including text-to-speech, mind-mapping and magnification software)
  • the loan of equipment (for example, digital voice recorders)
  • adaptations to University accommodation
  • modified examination arrangements
  • extended library loans
  • transcription services for eligible print-disabled students (to convert academic information into accessible formats, including braille, large print, e-text and audio)
  • information and support from the Disability Services team.

To access a range of other support services, students are likely to need to apply for additional funding, such as Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA). These services include:

  • one-to-one learning strategy support
  • specialist mentor and/or personal assistant and/or note-taker support
  • sign language interpreters.

Support is available throughout the year, and is not restricted to University teaching terms.

Drop in sessions

Students do not need to be referred to Disability Services. Drop in sessions, in person appointments and virtual appointments are available throughout the week.

Exam and assessment support 

Exam Access Arrangements are the name given to any alteration to the standard assessment.  They are put in place to ensure that all students have access to a fair and equal assessment.  They might include things like:

  • Extra time
  • Rest breaks
  • Use of a computer
  • A support worker, reader, scribe or prompt
  • Timetabling changes

There are around 70 different exam and assessment adjustments which Disability Services can consider and recommend to ensure disabled students are not disadvantaged through our assessment practices.

To access exam arrangements, students must have registered and provided evdience of a disability by key dates in the calendar.  These are many weeks before the main university assessment periods.

The For Student site contains essential information about how students can set up exam and assessment support, what evidence is needed and the deadline dates.

Disability Contacts in Schools

Disability Contacts are a network of staff within academic schools, faculties, and services.  They are a link between the School and Disability Services and share information about disabled students to ensure their reasonable adjustments are implemented.

You can direct students directly to their School’s Disability Contact for more information about disability support at any point.

Additional support and guidance

If you are unsure how to support a student or feel that they need support that they are not accessing, contact Disability Services.

Early engagement with Disability Services is encouraged and often has a positive impact on the experience of disabled students – no question is too small, and you can talk with Disability Services without giving a student’s name in the first instance.