Support for Higher Education students with disabilities

Students with disabilities

Our HE Senior Learning Mentor will be able to provide you with advice and support about studying with us if you have a diagnosed disability, long term health condition or specific learning difficulty that is likely to have an impact on your studies. We offer confidential guidance relating to your individual needs, which may include a specific learning difficulty, a physical or sensory impairment, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or mental health difficulty.

Our experienced Senior Learning Mentor is located on 3rd floor of The Forum and facilitates support for students with a variety of disabilities, recognising that individuals may have very different needs. We can discuss any additional support you may require, including making reasonable adjustments to your course and environment and advice on how to apply for special exam/coursework considerations. We can also give you advice about funding study related support via the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), if appropriate.

We will require your consent before sharing disability or health related information. Your details will be kept confidential within the University and will only be used for support purposes to allow reasonable adjustments to be considered.

What do we mean by Disability?

The definition of disability is broad; if you have a physical, mental or sensory impairment which you feel requires support to enable you to study at University, then you may be eligible for support.  The HE Senior Learning Mentor will be pleased to discuss with you and your personal circumstances to help you decide if you should apply for support.

Some examples of disability are listed below:

  • specific Learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or attention deficit disorder
  • Asperger/Autism
  • mental health condition
  • mobility issues
  • long term medical conditions
  • hearing impairment
  • visual impairment

We can support a range of disabilities:

  • advice regarding the support options available to you during your studies
  • on programme
  • liaison with your academic department
  • arranging for learning materials to be produced in alternative formats
  • orientation training either before or at the very start of term for those with visually impairment or mobility difficulties
  • support with personal emergency evacuation plans
  • examination adjustments (It is extremely important that you come and see us as soon as possible if you need examination adjustments, as there is a deadline date for submission. If you do not submit your application in time, you may be too late to meet that deadline).
  • extenuating circumstances
  • late submission
  • intermission

As a higher education student living in England, you may be eligible to apply for additional funding via a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability, including a:

  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty, eg dyslexia

You must meet the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 .

To apply for the DSA you can tick the box on your student loan or Bursary application form and you will be sent a DSA application form or you can apply directly through the website of your funding body. The funding body will pay for a needs assessment to decide what support you need at university. If you are eligible to apply for this fund you are strongly advised to apply as soon as possible before you start your course, but you can apply at any time during your studies.

Students will need to have medical proof or a diagnostic report to apply for support. The following types of evidence/report may be required.

  • letter from your Doctor or specialist
  • audiology report
  • blind/visual impairment registration
  • diagnostic report from an educational assessor or PATOSS registered Specialist Teachers report
  • letter or report from Community Mental Health team or Psychologist

If you are intending to ask the College to provide (DSA) Disabled Student’s Allowance funded support, it is highly recommended that you contact our HE Senior Learning Mentor as soon as possible.

 Our NMH Rates for DSA support can be found  here.

Personal Care Support

The University or DSA does not provide or fund support with daily living tasks, therefore you will need to think carefully about any non-academic, disability-related support requirements you may have, e.g. assistance with shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry or personal care. Funding for care support is via your own Social Services.  If you need this type of support you will need to liaise with your existing Social Services department to put support in place. This can take time and early contact with us around your needs is essential. We can put you in touch with an agency that we work with currently, SPDNS, to assist with care support, which could be an option for you.

SPDNS Nurse Care provide care and support for people living in the Southend area.

International and EU students with dyslexia, disability or a medical condition

You can’t access DSAs from Student Finance England if you are an EU or International student. If you have a diagnosis of Dyslexia or a disability and have evidence of this, please contact our HE Senior Learning Mentor, Lorraine Brophy, as soon as possible to discuss this further.

  • Dyslexia - students should have their Educational Psychologist’s (or equivalent) report translated into English. The report must date from when you were 16 or over
  • disabled students are advised to provide medical evidence of their impairment, eg, audiogram, doctor’s letter
 If you need any help or advice related to your Specific Learning Difficulty or Disability please contact us on or telephone 01702 220696.