Disability Support for Higher Education students Simon Morris, Disability Adviser Jill Berry, Assessment Centre and Disability Services Manager
Overview Key message: Lots of resources available for disabled students in HE to assist them to achieve their potential – we want students to know what’s available and to choose to make best use of these resources • Why? Because those who do are more successful. (And, we are ensuring reasonable adjustments are made to avoid discrimination)
Statistics on progression • Teesside University 2007/08 • Successful progression of 1st year FT undergraduates: • Disabled students with DSAs: 89% • Disabled students without DSAs: 68%
Statistics on progression • Dyslexic students with DSAs: 89% • Dyslexic students without DSAs: 60%
Teesside University students • 1,500 (approx) each year self-declared as ‘disabled’ • Less that a third respond to contact from Disability Services • Less than half again stick with the process of organising a Needs Assessment • Typical across the sector
Who is responsible….. …… for ensuring disabled students receive advice information and guidance regarding their entitlements?
Answer All of us! Support services, tutors, University, College…all can help to ensure the student receives the right information, guidance and support
To assist us, we are going to look at ..... • An overview of funding for support • Details of practical support available • An overview of applying for support • Problems that may arise
What's available? • Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) (not means-tested) • Basic eligibility criteria for DSAs: • Home student (not EU) • FT or PT undergrad course (degree, Diploma in HE, FdD, HND/C, Cert of HE) • PT courses must last at least a year and not take more than twice as long as a an equivalent FT course • PGCE (+ some post grad courses)
What do DSAs cover? • Equipment and support needed because of a disability, such as: • Specialist equipment/software (and training) • Non-medical helper allowance • General allowance • Travel allowance • Based on defined need and costs in a Needs Assessment
DSAs do not..... • Remove an institution’s responsibility to make reasonable adjustments • Pay for all disabled students to receive a laptop, PC or iMac of their choice • Contribute to the cost of having a new diagnostic assessment carried out
Not eligible for DSAs? • Student is still entitled to reasonable adjustments • Contact disability services to discuss needs • If course is jointly owned by Teesside Uni and HEBP College costs for support split 25%:75% or 20%:80% for category B courses (University:College) following agreement on defined need
Equipment - examples • Radio aids, portable loop systems • Magnification aids e.g. CCTVs • Ergonomic equipment e.g. mouse, keyboard, furniture, writing slopes, lumbar supports • PC to work at home • Specialist software • for VI students e.g. Jaws, Zoom text, Supernova • for dyslexic students e.g. Inspiration, Text help • voice recognition software
Non-medical helper examples • Training in effective use of equipment • Dyslexia Tuition • SLI, CSW, SSE, Teacher of the Deaf support • Note taker (‘EPA’) • Reader (‘EPA’) • Mentor • Mobility support (‘EPA’)
Talk to the University • Students should make contact with a Disability Adviser at the University as soon as they have been offered a place • Students should make sure they have given the University a copy of any evidence of their Disability so that support can be discussed
Applying for DSAs • Apply first for Student Funding – if eligible • Complete a DSA 1 form (long or short) • Provide evidence of disability and/or SpLD (strict criteria) • Receive letter from funding body confirming funding approval for a Needs Assessment • Contact an Assessment Centre and book an appointment.
Insufficient evidence of a SpLD? • Contact University to discuss options • Student to provide the evidence they do have. • If a diagnosis but done as a child – the University may be able to use it for limited support (non-funded) • If a screening test (e.g. DAST) – not eligible for any specialist support in HE
Teesside’s pilot (funding permitting) - for students who meet DSA eligibility criteria and have accepted a place at Teesside: • Applicants with an old diagnosis – we can arrange a funded up to date diagnosis to be done during the summer • Applicants with only a screening test will have the option to: • fund the diagnostic test themselves pre-entry (and claim back when enrolled) • once enrolled, can apply for a funded test
Please note • No legal duty to fund diagnostic tests • Funding comes from the University’s Access to Learning Fund • Student must meet eligibility criteria • EU and international students and students on/applying for ‘non-designated’ courses are not eligible and would have to fund a diagnostic test themselves
Needs Assessment • Carried out by registered Assessment Centres and qualified Assessors • Assessment Centres are audited and will operate using standardised processes and procedures. • An individual approach is taken to setting out support strategies. • The resulting report is used to access funding • Formalised but flexible
Needs Assessment Report • Explains effects of disability and issues in relation to all study activities and learning resources • Provides detailed assessment outcomes and recommendations, including equipment and non-medical helper support • Includes section – recommendations for institutional support
With the exception of NHS students, SFE process all applications for student finance in England. Scotland are covered by Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) and Wales by Student Finance Wales
The big five • Not having enough evidence of a condition • Not applying for required funding • No contact between student and University • Reasonable/Unreasonable expectations • Stuck in the process
Assessment Centre on Teesside (ACT) Available to all disabled people (including those with SpLDs and Mental Health conditions) who have applied to study HE Tees Valley Assessment Centre - not just Teesside students ACT now! Currently assessing applicants for 2010/11 – will do so throughout the summer and beyond
Feedback • “It takes too long.” • “There are too many forms to fill in – I can’t be bothered!” • “I’d rather try and manage without support”. After the Needs Assessment appointment: 95% ‘highly satisfied’ with the recommendations in the report. Felt their needs had been fully explored and a range of useful strategies discussed.
Some comments • “..excellent in guiding and supporting me….I feel more confident that I will complete this degree” • “..helped clarify everything as was previously very confused” • “I feel more confident that with this support I can move forward in my studies” • “I was very impressed with how my needs were understood” • “I couldn’t really have continued on my course without her expert assistance”
“The equipment that is available will be really useful to me” • “The whole process of assessment was very person centred and enabled an open exchange of information (needs and options)” • “Felt very motivated when I left the assessment” • “The whole experience has been enlightening and a relief to know I have a disability that can be overcome to achieve my goals. I am very proud and grateful”
Moving Forward • What questions do disabled students have when looking to enter HE? • How do you respond to these questions or what support are you able to offer in response? • How can we work together to assist disabled students with a smooth transition to HE funded support?
Useful resources • Disability Services at Teesside: email@example.com T: 01642 342277 • Assessment Centre on Teesside: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01642 342278 • Teesside website: www.tees.ac.uk/sections/studentsupport • Funding information: www.direct.gov.uk • NNAC – to find an Assessment Centre: www.nnac.org • Quality Assurance of Centres: DSA-QAG: www.dsa-qag.org.uk • Skill, National Bureau for disabled students: www.skill.org.uk • Criteria for acceptable SpLD evidence can be found on the PATOSS website: www.patoss-dyslexia.org