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Frequently Asked Questions



Should I notify the College of my disability and if so when?

Disabled students are encouraged to discuss their support requirements with one of our Advisers as soon as possible. In this way, the most appropriate support can be identified, implemented as far as possible and modified in response to the student's individual needs. The quickest way to ensure your support needs are addressed is to complete the Learning Support Referral Form and send directly to Disability Services within your college.

I have a medical condition but not sure if it would be classed as a disability. What should I do?

There is no definitive list but there are ways to define and measure disability. The main legal definition is set out in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Long-term means your impairment has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months, or for the rest of your life.

You are considered disabled if:

  • You have a mental or physical impairment
  • The impairment has an adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities
  • The effect is substantial and long-term

This DDA definition is quite broad. For example, it can include people who have dyslexia, learning difficulties or long-term medical conditions. It can also cover people experiencing mental health difficulties.

If you are still unsure contact us to arrange a meeting with one of the college advisors.

If I disclose my disability will it affect my application?

Under part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) no student can be discriminated against because of their disability.

What happens if I decide not to disclose?

Deciding whether to disclose is a personal choice, however there are benefits to disclosing. If you tell us about your disability then we can discuss appropriate support strategies and put them in place. If you don't tell us before the start of your course and something needs arranging then that might mean a delay for you as it does take time to arrange things like note takers, sign language interpreters etc.

What happens once I’ve disclosed my disability?

You will be given an appointment to meet with one of our advisors to discuss your requirements and agree appropriate support strategies. Discussion and recommendations will be based on medical evidence, background information from you on how your condition affects you on a daily basis, and previous support you may have received at school.

Who will be told about my disability?

It is an important part of our service that we deal with any issues sensitively and discreetly. All information and evidence given to us will be treated and stored confidentially. If classroom adjustments need to be made then your course tutors will need to be made aware to enable them to put these in place. Special Exam Arrangements are organised by the Examinations Officer and medical information is required before these can be processed. Your disability will only be discussed with others after consultation with you, and with your consent.

What support can I expect?

Students may access a wide range of support, recommendations for any support will be individual and based on evidence presented to Disability Services. Below is a list of some examples of support available:

  • Learning Mentors
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Note-Taker
  • Loan of Equipment
  • Specialist Enabling Technology
  • Examination Support

Do I have to pay for this support?

Each College is allocated a budget each year to meet the needs of students with disabilities or additional support needs enrolled on Further Education courses. This fund does not cover transport or personal care.

Students on higher education courses may be entitled to claim Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). The individual student must apply to their local education and library board to confirm eligibility for this award.

I have a disability but don’t need any support – do I still need to come to Disability Services?

We would advise you to come along for a chat with a Disability Adviser to find out about the full range of support available. Studying at college is often very different from school so it’s in your best interests to know what’s available.

What do I do about obtaining special examination arrangements if I have any disabilities?

The first thing you need is either a report from an educational psychologist if you are dyslexic and / or dyspraxic, or medical evidence from a specialist or general practitioner for other types of disability, including visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility difficulties, mental health difficulties, Asperger's Syndrome or other recognised disability. That evidence should wherever possible explain why you need special arrangements. Take that evidence to the Disability Support Office and arrange an appointment with one of our advisers. Final decisions on special exam arrangements are the responsibility of the Awarding Body.

Special exam arrangements have to be applied for at the beginning of exam series and do not carry over into a new academic year.


I am thinking of applying to the College and I have a disability, what do I need to do?

FE students only

 Learning support for students on FE courses is arranged directly by the college.  You should contact the Learning Support Team and arrange an appointment to discuss your needs and concerns. We can advise you on support and how to obtain it. We can also help liaise with your course coordinator where necessary. Please note that all students requesting additional support due to disability (including dyslexia) must supply relevant and appropriate evidence to the college with diagnosis and details of specific difficulties before support can be offered.

HE students only

 If you are a student on a HE course you can access support by applying for Disabled Student Allowance from your local funding body (education library board or equivalent).  DSA will help pay for some of the costs you may incur in attending a course at the College which are a direct result of a disability, medical condition or specific learning difficulty.  The Learning Support Centre can advise on the DSA application process. Early Application is essential. Application forms can be downloaded at:

http://www.studentfinanceni.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=54,1268397&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

I have a disability/specific learning difficulty; do I have to tell the College?

No you do not have to disclose – however, we would strongly recommend that you do so. It means that the College will be able to understand what your support needs are and how we can support you.

What support can the College offer?

Each College can offer a wide range of support, subject to an assessment by a member of the Learning Support Team. Possible support areas include mobility, speech, vision, hearing, dyslexia and mental health. Will I have to pay for this support?

No, if the Learning Support Team determine you are eligible for support the College will provide this support.

At school I got extra time in my exams; will this carry on at College?

Alternative exam arrangements such as extra time, a scribe and the use of a computer can be put in place. You will need to book an appointment with the Learning Support Centre to discuss your needs, and bring a copy of your supporting evidence with you.

I need an extension to the submission date for a piece of work due to my disability/specific learning difficulty.

You need to speak to your course coordinator, giving them as much notice as possible, explaining the situation. They may request some supporting evidence, if they don't already hold it. They will then make a decision about whether or not they can offer an extension.