Welcome To Disability Support Services
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2023/24 New Starters and returning students who require reasonable adjustments for exams and teaching (Support Plan)
click here to download the Disability Support Services leaflet
Can someone else talk to you on my behalf?
It’s usually best if we speak directly to someone who wants, or think they might want to, use our service. But we appreciate that sometimes students or applicants may want someone else to approach us first to find out more about how we work. We’re always happy to explain this to a wide range of enquirers without taking any personal details.
Occasionally, we understand students might want someone else to liaise with us about a problem or concern and we will do this in the short term if it seems like it’s needed. In order to do this, we would need you to put your consent in an e mail with the full details of your advocate. We also ask that you be clear about what you are giving them permission to talk to us about on your behalf, such as evidence, exams or the length or your degree. Usually we prefer it if a student continues to be included in written correspondence (such as e mails) in this situation. This is because we want to ensure they know what is going on and can add to or correct anything they need to.
We won’t agree to liaise with a third party on behalf of a student, such as a parent, as a long-term arrangement and in place of direct communication with a student.
If a third party, such as a family member or friend, contacts us on your behalf, we will not disclose that you are in contact with Disability Support Services or share any information without consent.
I have a long-term mental health condition, can I get a Support Plan?
Lots of students that have Support Plans have one because of a mental health condition that has been long term and has a negative impact on their lives. For example, they may have been seeing their GP for an on-going depressive episode or be struggling with an anxiety disorder. As with other conditions, we ask students to provide evidence, but we are well equipped to discuss student mental health needs and recommend adjustments for students with on-going symptoms.
Don't forget the Support and Wellbeing teams are also there to offer support.
What sorts of long-term health conditions might I get support with?
If you have a long-term health condition and it impacts your day to day activities, we’d recommend you get in touch with us. Good indicators that you might benefit from a Support Plan through our team would be if you’ve had support when you were at school or if you feel your academic work has the potential to be negatively impacted by it.
We work with students with a wide range of health conditions. For example, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, sickle-cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue conditions and asthma.
We work with students to develop a plan that is appropriate to their needs, recognising that some conditions can flare and fluctuate or are progressive in nature. In some cases, students just need modest adjustments to their exam arrangements such as rest breaks, while others might require a comprehensive plan of supports putting in place.
Please don’t be put off as you think your condition isn’t serious enough or is currently well managed. You might be surprised at how useful a few practical adjustments might be.
Is a letter from my school sufficient evidence for extra time?
For full access to support and reasonable adjustments, you will need to have a report that identifies you have a specific learning difference.
We accept both pre- and post-16 evidence from:
- An educational psychologist, specialist teacher, occupational therapist or equivalent
- An Interim Assessment Report
- EHC (Education, Health and Care) plans
- Reports from an appropriately qualified medical practitioner
For access to limited support and reasonable adjustments we can consider the following documentation if it provides an indication that difficulties have been experienced. This is not evidence of a Specific Learning Difference:
- A JCQ ‘Access Arrangement’ form (a ‘Form 8’).
- A signed letter or other document from your school, college, or previous university outlining any previous test results and/or description of difficulty, plus details of any adjustments made.
- A Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH) report.
- A Disabled Students' Allowances Needs Assessment report.
- Results from the Do-It Profiler PLUS recent written confirmation from University of Nottingham academic or welfare staff who know your work stating that your difficulties are having a demonstrably significant impact on your day-to-day life and academic work.
We will not accept the following as suitable evidence:
- A Meares-Irlen Syndrome assessment report.
- Results from a screening tool, such as Do-It Profiler (on its own) or QuickScan.
If you need to formalise a diagnosis of SpLD, you will need to contact an Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher who holds an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC). Please check that the assessor is experienced in identifying the specific learning difference you are investigating and that their report can be used to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance if you are from the UK.
You can use the British Psychological Society’s website to find an Educational Psychologist. Should you choose to contact a Specialist Teacher with an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) you can find them listed on either website for Patoss (you can register for free but make sure you tick the box next to ‘Only show tutors who hold a Patoss APC practising certificate) or The British Dyslexia Association.
How does data sharing work with Disability Support Services?
We encourage all students who use our service to complete a 'Your Essential Information' Form as well as uploading their relevant evidence. On the form you can give us consent to share your information, including the nature of your disability, with other University of Nottingham teams. Or if you prefer you can just give us consent to share any recommendations for support. You can decide what you feel most comfortable with.
There is also an option on the form not to give any internal data sharing consents to do with your disclosure until you speak to someone to find out more.
Please be assured that we store your information securely and do so with the purpose of setting up effective Disability Support Plans. We don’t routinely share your ‘source’ medical evidence with other teams within the University. We share the minimum amount of data with other teams to offer students support/adjustments and are clear about the purpose for which any data is shared.
When a Support Plan is set up for a student, this is recorded on the NottinghamHub platform and we will usually have consent confirmed via the 'Your Essential Information Form' or through other communications. Support Plans don’t usually need to include any information about the nature of a student’s disability, but it can be helpful if they do. Typically, they contain a number of recommendations and will be able to be viewed by you as the student, and other relevant teams such as our Support and Wellbeing Teams, school based Assessment administration teams and our Central examinations team. School Disability Liaison Officers, your Personal Tutor and your subject Module Leaders will also usually be able to view your plan.
If we think it will be beneficial to your well-being or disability needs, we might also share relevant information with other teams such as the pastoral teams working in Halls of residence or our Mental Health Team. This is to ensure a joined up approach and may result in other teams getting in touch with you to make sure you are aware of their services or to help implement an adjustment. If you don’t want to take up offers of support made you can, of course, decline.
It is not a routine practice to share sensitive information about your disability of health with agencies that are external to the University, such as future employers or your doctor, without your consent. Usually when data is shared with third parties it is to ensure a student’s accessibility needs are met, for example where information is shared with an external examiner or a field trip accommodation provider. Very occasionally, however, data is shared in situations such as where there are safeguarding concerns.
We will keep your information securely, but we do not offer confidentiality between an individual Tutor or Adviser, we keep running records and store and share information across the team.
Please be assured if you have a Support Plan and adjustments put in place to meet your needs as a disabled student this will not be recorded on your transcript or award certificate.
We adhere to the University of Nottingham’s Data Protection Policy and to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). To view a complete description of how and when we process the personal data of students and applicants please view our full privacy statement.
What online support do you offer?
As soon as you become a student at the University of Nottingham, please join our online learning resource, The Learning Well, available on Moodle to keep connected for tips during your studies. You will then be invited to attend workshops as soon as they are launched. We can also offer 1-1 specialist study support sessions via MS Teams for students with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and other SpLDs.
I have a recommendation via Disability Support Services for a fee adjustment regarding my accommodation. This is based on my disability/medical needs. How does this work?
As part of the assessment of your needs and adjustments, your Disability Adviser may recommend that the University will meet the difference between a room you might have booked, had you not had a medical need/disability, and what you have needed to book. This will be decided on the basis of both your evidence and in dialogue with you. Your Adviser will tell you what the nature of your fee adjustment is. For example, we might have agreed to fund the additional costs of an ensuite bathroom for you. All fee adjustments must be pre-agreed by Advisers, you can ask us if you are at all unsure.
Fee adjustments can be applied to accommodation that is not directly provided by the University, such as self-catered off campus accommodation at Raleigh Park, but cannot be applied to privately rented accommodation not associated with the university.
Where the University is providing your accommodation directly (or works very closely with a provider) we will arrange that a reduction will be made to your fees, and you will pay the correct amount from the outset. You will get a separate email confirming what your fee will be and confirming the accommodation and room you have taken after you apply for accommodation. However, your student portal (NottinghamHub) will reflect a higher amount as if the fee adjustment were not applied at first. You can disregard this and don’t need to query this as long as you have a confirmation email that matches what you’d expect.
In September, when the Accommodation team gets confirmation of which students are definitely coming, they will update student accounts to reflect the correct amount. This may not have been fully completed by the time the first payment deadline comes, but do not worry – the first payment is a deposit of £250 and is the same regardless of whether you have a referral, so please pay this amount and expect that your account will be adjusted quickly.
When your bill is due in early October it should reflect the adjusted (lower) fee and the University won’t usually pursue payment for accommodation costs until the December after the start of an academic year.
The above advice applies to accommodation at Broadgate Park, Albion House, Cloister House and Dagfa and all accommodation that is based on our campuses at University Park and Jubilee Campus.
However, in the case of accommodation that is provided at St Peter's Court, Riverside Point, Nottingham Two, Raleigh Park, The Vantage or Campus Living Villages (Sutton Bonington Campus) you will get a refund rather than having your bill adjusted to be correct from the outset. This means you will still need to pay your accommodation provider for the accommodation you have secured as agreed in your contract. These providers usually expect their rent payment much earlier on in the term, but we will arrange a refund to remedy the amount you have overpaid.
Again, Accommodation will email you to let you know what costs you will have to meet and what we’ll contribute.
If you want to stay on in your accommodation past your first year of study or want to move within the options outlined on our website, and want us to recommend that your fee adjustment will continue, please let us know. We may need to review your needs, but even if everything is the same we need to know of your plans in order to ensure your fee adjustment is secured.
We do not usually make arrangements for fee adjustments where students secure accommodation outside of the accommodation outline on our website, but you may be able to get some support from DSA towards the costs of these. Please do ask us if you are unsure or have any questions.
I'm struggling to apply for DSA can you help?
If you need help in completing the application form, then fill it in as much as you can and email it to us to complete Section 5. We can follow-up with SFE if your application is delayed provided you gave consent to share when you completed your application. If you need to arrange a DSA Study Needs Assessment, then we can guide you to the list of approved assessment centres. If you have lost your evidence and have supplied it to us previously, we can supply you with replacement copies. Our policy is to retain your evidence for 6 years after the completion of your course. Full information about DSAs and which form to complete can be found at www.direct.gov.uk/dsas.
What support is available to PGR students?
As a postgrad student, your Support Plan will be tailored to your needs. This may include adjustments to your working pattern, ergonomic equipment and extensions to deadlines where required. Please contact us to discuss arranging a Support Plan.