This article provides information on the differences that exist between school/college support services and the University support arrangements.

Funding arrangements for disabled students

Unlike school and college courses, the University does not receive funding to support students with disabilities or additional support needs. Eligible students are encouraged to apply for the Disabled Student’s Allowance before they register at University.  

In-class personal support

Registering on a course at University will mean that you are now studying at a different level than before. It also means that the level of 1-to-1 provision will be different from that you might have experienced previously. This difference is consistent with the Higher Education emphasis on independent learning but can come as something of a shock if you have become accustomed to immediately accessible ad hoc support in respect of your teaching, learning and assessment experience to date.

There should be sufficient support for you, but the main difference will be in the planning and approach to this support, generally requiring you to make more decisions for yourself about how best to utilise the assistance that is available to you.

The main difference is likely to be with note-taking, where the emphasis may move away from a reliance on someone taking notes for you towards using strategies and tools such as laptops and audio-recordings to bolster your own note-taking capabilities.

Policy differences

The independent learning culture at University means that support is aimed explicitly at enabling you to 'do it for yourself', and avoiding any tendency towards someone 'doing it for you' or in other ways compromising the achievement of the academic standard.

Examples could include:

  • Proof reading

The expectation is that all submitted work will be entirely your own, so instead of proofreading services you will be provided with the relevant study skills techniques and the associated technology to enable you to proof-read your own work independently of others.

  • Extension or movement of coursework deadlines

A general option to seek extensions on an ad hoc basis is not available as it can lead to a cumulative and ultimately unmanageable backlog of unfinished work as the course proceeds and also completely undermines the development of appropriate study skills. Instead the University places emphasis on supporting you to develop appropriate skills and a planned approach to your study.

In exceptional cases, the University will explore options for structural adjustment to the course delivery and assessment. This may include options such as a reduced pace of study or alternative methods of assessment. In these cases such adjustments will be approved in advance. The Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) can advise, assist and liaise with the department on your behalf if this is the case and we also have responsibility to monitor the outcomes closely, ensuring they meet your needs effectively.

Although disability is not covered by the University’s Extenuating Circumstances (EC) framework, if you do experience an unforeseen worsening of your condition and this affects your ability to complete work on time or to sit an assessment then you will be eligible for consideration under EC rules.  

  • ‘Sympathetic’ or ‘two-tier’ marking

While all reasonable adjustments to the processes of assessment are made, no adjustment is made to the outcome. Consequently all submitted work is assessed on the same criteria for all students. Instead, the emphasis is on the provision of relevant study skills support, inclusive marking practices and adjustments to the assessment process.

  • Evidence requirements

These may be different from those that were sufficient for you to access additional learning support and adjustments at school and college. See this article on evidence requirements.

Whilst the evidence you may have had previously was suitable for adjustments, this may not be the case when you register at University. You are advised to speak with a Disability Officer at the earliest point you can and they will guide you on what adjustments can be offered or how to obtain further evidence.



Enter your email address to receive a notification when the article is updated
Email Address

Was this article helpful
Thank you for your feedback
How can we improve?