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Academic and learning support for disabled students

Academic and learning support services and arrangements are listed on the links below. Some of these are only available once your eligibility for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) has been confirmed and you have received your Study Needs Assessment. Where this is the case, it's noted against the provision described.

  • Learning and study skills support

    Computing facilities

    Software and equipment are available in the open access labs. This includes assistive technologies if you have a visual impairment, dyslexia, or physical impairment. Contact us for details of access to departmental labs, eg. Biological Sciences, CES or Psychology.

    Departmental support

    Each department has a Departmental Disability Liaison Officer (DDLO). Their role is to assist you with any academic concerns.

    Recorded lectures

    Digital recordings of lectures at the Colchester Campus are available from the Listen Again service.


    You will be registered with the Albert Sloman Library at the Colchester Campus as a user with individual needs for extensions to short term loans and options for renewal.

    Study skills

    Study support is available online via Moodle. The Talent Development Centre provides assessment, credit modules and training for all students at the University on a range of key academic and employment skills, including academic literacy; numeracy; English language; modern languages; library researching; computer skills; internet researching; preparing for work; and learning through work.

    Study strategies tuition

    One-to-one study strategies tuition can help you to develop a range of skills including:

    • note making and referencing
    • essay planning and time management
    • identifying and correcting patterns in spelling errors
    • clarity of expression
    • making full use of library and other resources such as e-journals
    • improving learning and revision

    This one-to-one tuition may be available if you are in receipt of Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

  • Mentoring

    If you have a diagnosed health or mental health condition, or you are on the austistic spectrum, then you may be entitled to receive one-to-one mentoring funded by your Disabled Students' Allowance. A mentor can meet with you for regular appointments to offer:

    • help to manage your difficulties alongside your studies
    • practical and emotional support through listening and problem solving
    • assistance with independent learning and development of study skills
    • help with liaising with your department to make sure you have the support you need on your course
    • practical help in the library and help with organising your study space and study materials
    • accompaniment to appointments and support liaising with doctors/GPs and other health and support professionals

    How to apply for mentoring

    In order to apply for on-going mentoring, you will need to have received a diagnosis of a long-term mental health difficulty and apply for Disabled Students' Allowance as this can fund mentoring support for the duration of your studies. You will also need to provide evidence your diagnosis (ie. a doctor/GP letter when completing the form).

    If you're not eligible to apply for DSA but have a formal diagnosis and would like to discuss mentoring please arrange to meet with a specialist disability adviser during our opening hours or contact us.

  • Coversheets for assignments

    If you have a diagnosis of Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia or an autistic spectrum disorder, you may wish to use coversheets for your assignments to alert the marker to difficulties you encounter when writing.

    You will not receive extra marks as a result of using this; however, it should prompt the marker to respect your difficulties and, if learning outcomes are not compromised, it may be that you are less likely to be penalised on simple issues with style.

    If you have registered your disability and provided evidence of your condition to student support you will automatically be able to access your coversheet online via FASer. This coversheet is individual to you, you can download a copy onto your computer for printing out should you need to submit a hard copy and you can upload it directly when submitting work via FASer.

    How to download your coversheet

    1. Log on to FASer with your username and password
    2. Click the 'Help and Support' tab on the left-hand panel
    3. Click on 'Student Support' on the drop down menu
    4. Download your coversheet
    5. Submit this either by uploading it alongside your coursework, or printing it out if you need to hand in a physical copy

    If you have any problems with the system or any queries about support for your studies, please contact us.

  • Student support workers

    Student support workers are available to support you with your studies. The majority of these roles are funded via Disabled Students’ Allowances. Support that is available includes:

    • Practical Support Assistant
    • Library Support Assistant
    • Reader
    • Scribe (see Workshop/Laboratory Scribe Assistant role)
    • Workshop/Laboratory/Scribe Assistant
    • Sighted Guide
    • Proof Reader
    • Study Assistant (as this is tailored to meet the individual needs of a specific student please contact the Disability Service for further information)
    • Examination Support Worker
    • Manual Notetaker
    • Communication Support Worker
    • Electronic Notetaker
    • Specialist Transcription Service
    • Mobility Trainer
    • Specialist Mentor – Wellbeing
    • Specialist Mentor – Aspergers/SpLD
    • Specialist One to One Study Skills Support
    • British Sign Language Interpreters
    • Language Support Tutor for deaf students
    • Assistive Technology Trainers

    If you have previously used support workers to assist with key academic tasks or think this provision might be useful, please contact your Student Services Hub for further advice about how these needs may be met.

  • Non-Medical Helper providers

    If you're a student in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance funding you may well be recommended support (i.e. Specialist Study Skills Tutor or Specialist Mentor) from a Non-Medical Helper (NMH) provider. You and your provider may need to know about our procedures on campus or if you're able to book a room for your support.

  • Arrangements for exams and assessment

    If you have a disability, temporary medical condition or injury that will affect your performance in examinations, you can apply for individual exam arrangements by completing our application form (.pdf).

    Arrangements vary depending on your requirements and supporting evidence but can include:

    • extra time for writing or rest breaks
    • advising the marker of your specific learning difficulties or autistic spectrum condition
    • a computer
    • someone to write/read for you
    • exam papers in suitable format (eg braille, large print)
    • a separate room
    • special furniture

    Applying for arrangements

    Apply before 31 January to ensure your arrangements are in place. After this deadline, there is no guarantee that arrangements can be put in place. Priority will, during this time, be given to applications where the disability is temporary in duration and could not have been notified previously (such as recent physical injury).

    The intention is that arrangements should enable you to meet the expected learning outcomes and to compensate for the restriction imposed by any disability without affecting the validity of the examination.

    There is no need to reapply each year if you are on an existing course. If you have started a new course eg. a postgraduate course or have transferred to a different scheme, please contact us so we can check if arrangements are in place.

    Alternative assessment

    Methods of assessment vary, although most courses are assessed on written course work such as essays as well as examinations. Some subjects also require practical, fieldwork or study abroad. If you wish to discuss access to assessment, please contact us.

  • Ordering equipment and arranging support

    When you received your Study Needs Assessment report it will include details of the assessor's recommendations and recommended suppliers. Your funding body will confirm what you are entitled to. If your application is successful then you may be entitled to one or more of the following:

    Specialist equipment

    The letter will confirm which Approved Supplier you must contact to order your specialist equipment. Their contact details should be in the letter. If not, these can be found in the Study Needs Assessment report. Please contact the supplier direct, quoting the reference number on the letter to arrange delivery.

    Is insurance included in the letter? If so, arrange insurance and submit the receipts to your funding body (for Student Finance England, download the claim for costs form from the Government website).

    Non-medical helper’s allowance

    If IT training has been recommended, please contact the supplier to arrange training for after the delivery of your equipment.

    If tuition, mentoring or other human support has been recommended please contact the supplier directly or contact your Student Services Hub and we can help arrange this.

    General allowance

    Send your receipts for general allowance items agreed by your funding body (for Student Finance England, download the claim for costs form from the Government website). We recommend you keep copies of these receipts. Claims should be sent before the start of the next academic year.

    Travel and Accommodation

    Please follow the instructions on the letter from your funder or contact us if you have any questions.

Student Services Hub

Lecturer and student

Our team of advisers are based within your Student Services Hub and can provide information, advice and guidance on a range of topics from accommodation and funding to exam stress and wellbeing. Drop us a line or pay us a visit.

Groups and workshops

Three students talking

Our groups and workshops are designed to support you through the demands of academic life. Our students often say they find it beneficial to be part of a group where other people are experiencing similar difficulties.

Financial support

Students walking to Ivor Crewe lecture hall

You may be eligible to apply for funding to help cover the costs incurred for additional support and resources as a result of your diagnosed disability or mental health condition. Find out what financial support could be available to you.

Managing exam anxiety

Student in library

It is natural to feel nervous before an exam. However, if your nerves are causing anxiety and affecting your ability to concentrate or perform then speak to our advisers who can provide techniques on how to manage your exam anxiety.