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1. Introduction

SGUL is firmly committed to offering the best possible learning and teaching opportunities and student experience. This policy outlines the ways in which SGUL addresses the needs of disabled students. It is designed to be read by prospective and current students as well as members of SGUL staff.

Central to the Student Disability Policy is the intention to take account of individual need and to work with disabled students to find appropriate and practical reasonable adjustments to ensure that our learning and teaching environment is as accessible as possible.

There is a separate policy for disabled staff. This can be found on the HR website (URL address)

The Equality Act 2010 was introduced to harmonise and replace previous legislation, such as the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. The Equality Act has strengthened particular aspects of equality law, and disability in particular. The Equality Act provides enhanced protection for disabled people from discrimination. The Act places a duty on SGUL to make reasonable adjustments for students to help them overcome disadvantage resulting from an impairment.

The Equality Act takes the approach that employers and service providers must look specifically at the particular person's disability and indentify how, if practicable, they can ensure that the disabled person is treated as favourably as everybody else. The law is in place to promote equal rights and fair treatment.

2. Definitions of Disability

A person is disabled 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. These include, for example, using a telephone, reading a book, or using public transport.

  • ‘substantial' is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial'
  • ‘long-term effect' is defined as lasting more than a year (12 months or more).

SGUL complies with this legislative definition, and it also defines disability as the loss or limitation of opportunities that prevent people who have impairments from taking part in the life of the community as equal, due to physical and social barriers.

The following are covered under this definition:

  • Physical and sensory impairments
  • Specific learning difficulties
  • Autistic spectrum conditions
  • Mental health conditions
  • Severe disfigurements
  • Anyone with a long term health condition such as an HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis
  • Progressive conditions that affect normal day-to-day activities, including long term physical health issues

SGUL is aware that not all impairments are covered by current legislation. Some students may have impairments which are not severe enough to adversely affect daily living but which do affect learning, assessment or work. While fully complying with the relevant legislation, SGUL will endeavour to provide full support to all such students.

3. Disability Services

SGUL’s Disability Service is comprised of the Disability Adviser and the Dyslexia Support Tutor. These specialist staff endeavour to ensure that students receive the support they need to make the most of their studies at SGUL and are enabled to participate fully in university life.

4. Pre application information

All disabled students considering whether to apply to SGUL are encouraged to contact the Disability Adviser to find out about the range of services for disabled students. Students with a mobility difficulty are strongly advised to visit SGUL and discuss their requirements in detail with the Disability Adviser before application.

5. Admissions

The criteria for admission to particular courses of study are made explicit to all applicants on the University website and in the University prospectus. SGUL will ensure that such criteria do not create unnecessary barriers to disabled applicants.  In considering applications, SGUL will assess whether, in the case of professional registrable qualifications (medicine, physiotherapy and radiography), applicants meet the requirements for ‘fitness to practise’ in those professions. Applicants’ academic suitability for the course is assessed independently of any disability they may declare, and the academic decision is not influenced by their health or disability.

Applicants who declare a disability on their application via UCAS or directly to SGUL will be contacted by the Disability Adviser to seek further information. Students can then discuss what support is available and what reasonable adjustments can be put in place.

Admissions tutors must seek advice from the Disability Adviser whenever there is a concern about the impact of a disability on a student’s ability to follow a course. No applicant will be refused a place at the University on the grounds of disability before an opportunity has been provided for full consideration of the specific support or facilities required, in consultation with the school's Disability Adviser. Places on most undergraduate SGUL programmes are conditional on Occupational Health assessment clearance. As patient contact will feature on such programmes, immunity screening and vaccination are required.

If a disabled student is rejected on grounds other than academic, a record of the decision and the reasons for it will be kept. To facilitate an alternative choice of course/institution SGUL will give feedback to the applicant, UCAS or other relevant body.

6. Applications from students with mobility difficulties

Some of the estate and physical environment of SGUL is not fully accessible to students who are wheelchair users or who have difficulties with stairs.   Admissions Tutors must therefore ensure that certain procedures are followed when considering applications from these students. This is to ensure that access and emergency egress routes are established before a student arrives. If reasonable adjustments to buildings and procedures cannot be put in place it is essential that an applicant is informed in a timely manner.

Admissions Tutors who make an offer to a student with restricted mobility must notify the Head of Student Services, the Disability Adviser and the Student Accommodation Support Officer as soon as practically possible.

7. Emergency Egress

It is the responsibility of the Disability Adviser, in consultation with the Safety Health and Environment Team and the relevant programme administrator, to arrange that an Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan is completed for all students who may have difficulty making their way out of buildings in an emergency (most likely to be students with restricted mobility or sensory impairments).

8. If a student becomes disabled

If a student becomes disabled while registered at SGUL, or becomes concerned that an illness or other condition is having a disabling effect, they are advised to contact the Disability Adviser to discuss their needs.

9. The Disability Adviser

The Disability Adviser is part of SGUL Registry and is supported by the Dyslexia Support Tutor. The Disability Adviser provides information, advice and support on disability issues to all SGUL students and potential students. The Disability Adviser also advises staff on improving accessibility of the curriculum and teaching as well as buildings and facilities.

Disabled students are requested to register with the Disability Adviser. This provides an opportunity to discuss support needs and funding such as the Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) and find out about facilities that may be available. The Disability Service is available on the internet to all prospective and current students. As well as information for staff and DSA needs assessors it includes information about types of support, eligibility and how to access support at the university.  Information is also available in student handbooks, which all students are given at the start of each academic year.

Support needs will be assessed by the Disability Adviser supported by medical or other appropriate evidence and by external assessors appointed by the Local Authority or other funding body if relevant. If a student is assessed as requiring a non-medical helper (such as a note taker) the disability adviser will source an appropriately skilled and competent support worker from a partner agency

Students can seek confidential advice and support from the Disability Adviser, who will agree and document levels of confidentiality with the student and will pass on disability related information where consent is provided by the student. Students will be aware that if agreement is not reached to share information with relevant staff this may restrict the adjustments that can be made.

The Disability Adviser will liaise with academic staff on a student’s behalf if requested. However, students are encouraged to discuss their support needs with their personal tutor, course director or any other relevant members of staff wherever possible.

12. The Library and Computer Rooms

The library is equipped with assistive technology, including TextHelp Read and Write software on all PCs, as well as adjustable chairs and desks, lamps and a scanner. Other assistive technology can be made available through the disability adviser.

Guidance on making the curriculum accessible to disabled students can be found on the SGUL Disability Support website.  Advice on producing material in alternative formats can be obtained from the Disability Adviser.

13. Curriculum

SGUL will promote awareness and understanding of the ways in which curricular and other provision may be accessible or inaccessible to disabled people, and accessibility will be regarded as a core value in the design and delivery of courses and programmes of study, and in other provisions made for students.

The Disability Adviser liaises with academic staff to make recommendations for anticipatory reasonable adjustments to course programmes. Where individual reasonable adjustments are required, a summary of support needs is agreed by the Disability Adviser with individual disabled students. This document is then sent to course administration and relevant academic staff, in line with the confidentiality agreement made with the student.

All recommendations made in medical or other diagnostic evidence will be implemented in full unless there exists a pedagogical, safety or fitness to practice reason for non-implementation.  All adjustments to teaching are made at the discretion of the relevant Course Director.

Refusal of a recommended adjustment should be documented and a written copy of the decision and justification sent to the Disability Adviser.

SGUL is committed to continuing to embed accessibility into the curriculum.

14. Assessment and Examinations

SGUL has a policy of providing additional examination arrangements, where necessary, for disabled students. The purpose of changes to examinations and other forms of assessment is to compensate for any disadvantage created by the assessment task as it impacts on the student's disability, without affecting the validity of the assessment.

These arrangements may include additional time in examinations, the use examinations support workers such as readers or amanuenses, separate rooms, and the provision of examinations in appropriate formats e.g. large print. Students who believe they may be entitled to additional examination arrangements are advised to contact the Disability Adviser as soon as possible.

Where an examination support worker is provided this must be an appropriately skilled and competent support worker from a partner agency.

All recommendations made in medical or other diagnostic evidence will be implemented in full unless there exists a pedagogical, safety or fitness to practice reason for non-implementation.  All assessment adjustments are made at the discretion of the responsible examiner.

Refusal of a recommended adjustment should be documented and a written copy of the decision and justification sent to the Disability Adviser.

Students with dyslexia are required to have a prior assessment of any additional needs they may have in examinations. Dyslexic students who register with the Disability Adviser will be assisted in this process.

All applications for additional examination arrangements must be supported by appropriate medical or other evidence and be agreed by the Disability Adviser before being implemented by the Examinations Team. The Examinations Team require to be notified of such adjustments 6 weeks prior to any assessment.

15. Student residences

SGUL has a number of rooms in student residences that have been adapted to accommodate the needs of disabled students including wheelchair users. Carers can be accommodated where appropriate. Students or prospective students are encouraged to contact the Student Accommodation Support Officer or Disability Adviser to discuss their accommodation needs.

16. Staff Development and Dissemination of Good Practice

The web site  gives access to disability information to staff and students.Disability awareness sessions for staff are included as a part of the regular staff development programme.

17. For more information

A guide to the services available to disabled students at SGUL is available on the university web page, together with guidance for applicants and potential applicants. See Disability Service.


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