Student Disability Service: Information for Staff
Information for students is available on our Disabilities, long-term mental health conditions and learning difficulties intranet pages.
A disability is any long-term physical or mental health condition that has a significant impact on a student's ability to perform everyday activities (including study-related activities such as sitting exams). Long-term means it has lasted for at least 12 months or is expected to last for at least 12 months. Disabilities include: dyslexia, autism spectrum conditions, mobility impairments, anxiety disorder, long-term illnesses (e.g. diabetes, migraines, chronic fatigue), eating disorders, sensory impairments, brain injuries...
If you are a staff member and a student discloses to you that they have a disability:
- keep records of conversations, save emails etc.
- ask for consent to share their disclosure with the Student Disability Service (SDS).
- either direct the student to the SDS registration form, or fill in the (shorter) staff referral form
If the student says they do not wish to contact SDS or anyone else, this must be respected even if it means the University is unable to implement reasonable adjustments. However, if the student poses a risk to themselves or others, you must inform the appropriate person. More information about this is in the guide below.
Disclosing to any staff member is seen as disclosing to the University as a whole, and as such the University becomes liable under the law. It is therefore imperative that you keep notes of discussions with students, save any emails etc.
When a student registers with SDS, their disability advisor will produce a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP) which outlines the support they will receive from the University, in the form of adjustments made to teaching, assessments, facilities, interactions etc. Such adjustments form part of the University's legal duty to comply with the Equality Act 2010. Every School/Department has a Reasonable Adjustments Contact (RAC) who has the responsibility of ensuring these adjustments are communicated to relevant staff and implemented appropriately. If you have a query about an adjustment you have been instructed to make, please talk to the RAC in your School/Department, who will advise you and liaise with SDS where necessary. The RAC is usually a member of the Wellbeing Team.
A guide to Inclusive Practice and Reasonable Adjustments has been produced for all University staff. The guide focuses on all students, with a range of impairments. It provides detailed information regarding some of the difficulties faced, overcoming barriers and supporting students to be able to fully engage in their studies.
For more information about reasonable adjustments see:
Students who are registered with SDS may follow different processes for adjustments such as assignment extensions, resits and exam deferrals that might otherwise be covered by the Extenuating Circumstances procedure. Such students have already disclosed their circumstances and provided medical evidence and should not be expected to do so again. For more information see the Extenuating Circumstances procedure.
Supporting Students with Mental Health Conditions
For advice and guidance on supporting students with mental health conditions, please see our Mental Health Information for Staff.
SDS can provide or arrange staff training on specific disabilities or other related matters. Please contact us to enquire.
Contacting the Student Disability Service
SDS staff are very happy to offer advice and answer queries. Each student's RAP lists their disability advisor's name and email address. Disability advisor phone numbers are in the staff directory. For general queries about disability support, please contact us on email@example.com.
Support for Disabled Staff
The University has an Employee Disability Service for its staff. You can find information on the Wellbeing Services page.