Student Disability Service

Implementing adjustments for students

Guidance for School staff (specifically Coordinators of Adjustments and Disability Contacts) on the responsibilities and process of implementing adjustments.

Process

The process of recommending adjustments is initiated by the Student Disability Service (SDS) following a meeting between a Disability Advisor and the student.  The Advisor will prepare a Schedule of Adjustments (SoA) which is a list of the required support for that student.  The SoA is published on EUCLID to be viewed by School, Exams and Library staff.  The School, Exams and Library staff are responsible for ensuring that the adjustments are implemented.

What is an Adjustment?

An adjustment or a “reasonable adjustment” (as it is referred to in the Equality Act) is an amendment to the student’s course of study which enables her/him to participate fully in their education.  An adjustment is

  • intended to help ensure disabled students are not disadvantaged
  • available to students with specific learning difficulties and other disabilities
  • can be recommended for temporary disabilities e.g. if a student suffers an injury or illness which impairs their ability to study
  • intended to address a disability related issue not an ability “gap”.
Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy (AILP)

The University has introduced an Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy.  This policy aims to make all students’ learning a more positive and inclusive experience.  It mainstreams seven adjustments previously recommended only for disabled students.  These seven adjustments are considered to be good practice and it is intended that they become embedded as inclusive teaching practice. This makes teaching and learning more accessible and reduces the need for specific adjustments to be set up. The policy aims to ensure equality for all students.

How are adjustments decided?

Adjustments are recommended by an advisor at the Student Disability Service following the submission of relevant medical evidence (e.g. a letter from a medical professional or an Educational Psychologist report) and discussion with the student.  This discussion will explore the student’s strengths and areas where s/he may need support.  Students normally self-refer to the Student Disability Service, but may be also encouraged to do so by their Personal Tutor, Supervisor or other staff member.

Advisors will always consider the requirement for students to demonstrate that they have achieved defined core competence standards when exploring support options and adjustments.

Key People and Roles

Disability Contact: Created by the Principal's Disability Review of Support for Disabled Students 2017, this role has the designated authority of the Head of School and is a point of contact for disabled students within that School.  Students can raise issues of concerns about implementation of adjustments and other disability issues. 

Coordinator of Adjustments (CoA): To oversee/monitor the School's process to ensure the effective dissemination and implementation of adjustments.  CoAs have access to the Schedule of Adjustments Inbox in EUCLID which has a dashboard that shows all adjustments in that School.

Course Organiser/Course Secretaries (CO/CS) have access to the Course Adjustment Breakdown in EUCLID which lists all their courses and provide information of adjustments require for those courses. They can also view the Learning & Teaching summary (and print or PDF the summary to forward on to teaching staff)

Teaching staff have access to the L&T summary either sent to them by CO/CS or viewing via EUCLID. (The latter requires CO/CS to attach the teaching staff to that course in the Course Adjustment Breakdown view.

Personal Tutors, PG Supervisors, Student Support Officers have access via the student’s EUCLID record for any student under their sphere of influence (e.g. School for SSO, Tutees for PTs etc.)

Ad Hoc Staff can be added to have access to a particular student’s Schedule of Adjustment by the CoA (e.g. a named contact, if not someone holding one of the above roles).

Student: in this context, a disabled student, as defined by the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act says that someone has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a long term or substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Physical or mental impairment includes sensory impairment such as those affecting sight or hearing. Impairments covered by the Act also include dyslexia, long term health conditions such as diabetes, cancer or HIV.

Legislative Context

The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination against disabled people unlawful. Implementing support in the form of “reasonable adjustments” is intended to ensure that disabled students, including those with mental health problems and specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia, have an equal opportunity to fully access their course of study.

When a student discloses to a member of University of Edinburgh staff that s/he has a disability, the University is deemed to know about the disability and has obligations under the Equality Act 2010, and the Data Protection Act (1998).  This has implications for the University in relation to how it records such disclosures, how information is passed on and what happens in the event a student asks for a disclosure to be kept confidential. 

The Equality Act consolidates previous anti-discrimination legislation for England, Scotland and Wales. The Student Disability Service offers training on the legislation, on request.

  • Further information on the Equality Act 2010

Confidentiality

Information about disability is classed as sensitive personal data and will be processed by the University in accordance with the Data Protection Law and the University’s Data Protection Policy.

For infomration on the legal basis by which the Student Disablity Service collect and use students' data can be found in the Service's Privacy Notice. 

Details of the student’s specific disability, medical condition or specific learning difficulty (SpLD) is not required to be included in the SoA and a student is not obliged to reveal detailed information to the School about their disability.  In some instances it may be useful for the School to know, but in many cases it may not be relevant to the support needing to be set up.  A discussion about disclosure usually takes place between the advisor and the student with the student deciding what information can be passed on when the SoA is set up.

University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) disability codes

  • A         No disability
  • B         Social communication impairment e.g. Asperger’s syndrome/autistic spectrum
  • C         Blind/serious visual impairment uncorrected by glasses
  • D         Deaf/serious hearing impairment
  • E         Long standing illness or health condition e.g. cancer, HIV, epilepsy
  • F          Mental health condition e.g. depression, schizophrenia or anxiety disorder
  • G         Specific learning difficulty e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD
  • H         Physical impairment or mobility issues
  • I           Disability or medical condition not listed above
  • J          Two or more impairments or disabling conditions