Information for Staff

Key guidance.

Information for Staff

  1. Guidance notes for staff on the Disability Discrimination Act
  2. Disclosure of disability - University procedures (PDF file)
  3. Disclosure of disability on application - flowchart (PDF file)
  4. Reasonable adjustments - teaching and learning
  5. Reasonable adjustments - work placements (PDF file)
  6. Marking policy dyslexia - approved by AMT June 2007 (PDF file)
  7. Identifying and referring students who may have dyslexia (PDF file)
  8. Guidance on aspergers syndrome and autism
  9. Who to contact for specialist help
  10. Making lectures inclusive (word file)
  11. Inclusion - power point demonstration on Inclusion (PDF file)
  12. Inclusion - power point demonstration on Inclusion (word file)
  13. Inclusive Assessment (PDF file)
  14. Tips on improving accessibility of E-Learning materials (word file)
  15. Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and Maths (word file)
  16. Dyscalculia, Dyslexia and Maths (PDF file)

Updated January 2014.

Guidance Notes for Staff

Obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)1995; Special Educational Needs Act (SENDA) 2001 - DDA Part IV: Post 16 Education; and the Disability Discrimination Bill 2005.

Current Disability legislation has far-reaching implications for all learning providers. In order to comply with DDA legislation and avoid any incidence of disability discrimination all staff have a responsibility to gain an understanding of the legislation, and must be fully aware of disability equality issues related to their role and responsibilities. The aim of the legislation is to remove any barriers to learning opportunities faced by disabled people.
Aims and Effects of DDA

  1. The main requirement to make ' reasonable adjustments ' has been in force since September 2002, and applies to the whole university, including all teaching and learning requirements, and the staff who have responsibility for facilitating this process.
  2. Adjustments relating to 'auxiliary aids and services' were required from September 2003, and relate to the additional support provided by the Disability and Academic Skills Services and other Central Services within the University.
  3. 'Reasonable adjustment' to physical features was required from September 2005. An Audit of Physical Access was undertaken by an external specialist and the Estates Department have devised and begun a plan of works to improve physical access. This work is guided by the Disability Equality and sub Group ( reporting to the Equal Opportunities Action Group).

Definition of Disability (DDA)

A disabled person is someone who has a physical, sensory, medical or mental impairment, which has an effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

That effect must be:

  • substantial (that is, more than minor or trivial), and
  • diverse, and long-term (that is, has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months or for the rest of the life of the person affected).

Certain medical conditions that have been improved by treatment continue to be covered by the act. Staff should also note that many conditions that might not be commonly perceived as disabilities are also covered by the act. For example, facial disfigurement, diabetes, dyslexia etc are all included.

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Reasonable Adjustments (DDA)

What are Reasonable Adjustments?

  • It is the responsible body's duty to make reasonable adjustments as an anticipatory duty owed to people/students with disabilities at large. It is not simply a duty to certain individuals. This means that responsible bodies should continually be anticipating the requirements of students with disabilities and the adjustments they could be making, to ensure that a person with a disability is not at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ compared to those who are not disabled.
  • The legislation supplements the 'anticipatory duties' owed by educational institutions to disabled students, and imposes duties to actively promote equality of opportunity by all staff, as well as by the corporate body. This means anticipating that a person/s with various disabilities will need to be fully included in any activity a member of staff is contractually responsible for delivering.

Some Examples of 'Reasonable Adjustments'

  • All teaching staff produce all their handouts in electronic form, thus ensuring that they can easily be converted into large print or put into other alternative formats.
  • Therefore, staff are anticipating reasonable adjustments that might need to be made for individuals.
  • The institution encourages its lecturers to put lecture notes on the institution's Intranet, and introduces new procedures to ensure that all notes put on the intranet meet established guidelines to ensure there is no conflict with specialist software or features that students with dyslexia may be using.
  • Ensuring that all teaching locations are accessible for all students within the group who may have a variety of different learning needs (e.g. consider rooms and equipment used etc).
  • A reasonable adjustment would be teaching in a way that includes all students. Adopting a variety of teaching techniques, and understanding the requirements of different learning styles within a group.
  • Ensuring the Adapted Materials Service ( is consulted when requests for resources in alternative formats are required.

Responsibilities - Teaching and Learning

All Academic Schools are expected to consider disability issues when developing, or monitoring annual school plans, and to devise reasonable adjustments, (e.g. alternative provision within the delivery of an inclusive curriculum and assessment process).

A useful resource is Techdis:

Duty to Communicate Accessible Course and Pre-Course Information

All Programme, Course, and Assessment information pertinent to teaching and learning should be made fully available in adapted formats.This could be pre-course information for: module choices, timetables, room locations, programme module handbooks, reading lists, access to academic advisors/course tutors for 1:1 appointments etc, and all School/Programme administration.

Information sent to students by letter or made known through use of notices, also conveyed by using electronic technology e.g. e-mail, and provision of locations for handing in assignments, and collection of marked assignments in accessible locations should also be considered.

Examples of Best Practice

  • Accessibility - means ensuring that facilities and equipment are fully accessible to all students so that they can take part in all teaching and learning activities/sessions with an accessible curriculum, not just getting into the room!
  • Remember to enforce good practice, be proactive by ensuring that students are fully aware of: Health and Safety issues, and Fire Alarms for safe egress from all teaching locations.
  • Arrange for teaching videos/DVDs to be borrowed before and after the session for those who cannot see or hear them fully.
  • To be fully inclusive use visual descriptors when using PowerPoint, and OHTs etc. to assist students with visual impairment and dyslexia.
  • Use microphone, or radio-aid when a student has a hearing impairment, and be aware of the acoustics in large lecture rooms, and students talking over each in seminar sessions. People who rely on lip reading need to see the face of the speaker at all times.
  • Allow students to make notes using personal minidisk recorders, dictaphones, or laptops in lectures and seminars.
  • Ensure that students have access to adapted furniture for sitting or writing on or using a PC with specialist software (screen reader if visually impaired) or other assistive equipment. This may also be for sessions with specialist course software (e.g. SPSS, ECDL), or media software packages.
  • When a student is accompanied by a note-taker, interpreter etc. then a larger teaching space may be required for the whole group.
  • Be aware that wheelchairs need room to turn. A student may require an individual table at the right height, this may involve providing an appropriate table for group work as well etc.
  • Be aware that a student may need to leave and return to lectures/seminars discreetly due to a medical condition, and lecture rooms may need to be close to a toilet facility.
  • Be aware that a student may need to stand or take short breaks during lectures. Try to ensure that they do this in a discrete way, which does not affect their learning, or the dynamics of the sessions for the rest of the student group. This could involve some recapping techniques for the whole group as part of the normal delivery process.
  • Ensure that visiting lecturers are aware that they will be teaching a group of students with various additional requirements and should take appropriate steps to be fully inclusive with materials/resources being used
  • There are no copyright restrictions for visually impaired people
  • Provision of paper or electronic copies of notes, OHTs and handouts for lectures/seminars, directed to the specific school website. Staff may also make available teaching material via email. This allows for the use of ‘screen reading’ software and adaption in other formats.
  • Any recordings or notes provided by a note-taker will be used solely for personal study purposes: no copies will be made, except if the student requires a transcription service. This service will be provided by the Adapted Materials Service.
  • Extensions for course work, or in some cases alternative forms of assessment, should be agreed in partnership between student, academic staff, and advice from Disability Coordinator. When a student requires additional support during placement or field trip etc, a meeting should be arranged between the student, relevant school staff and Disability Co-ordinator, if appropriate (see Guidance Notes on Reasonable Adjustments for Students with Disabilities on Work Placements).

Useful Websites:

Techdis provides information about resources to make teaching and learning more accessible
(e.g. e-learning)

Guidance on technology, plus accessible teaching and learning covering various disciplines

SKILL (currently hosted by Disability Alliance) is a national agency supporting students with disabilities, it provides useful information on all issues related to disability

Skill Boosters on line staff development and training packages

Disability Legislation documents:

Updated November 2011.

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Teaching, Learning and Assessment: Working with Disabled Students

Students with Aspergers Syndrome or Autism

N.B. The information given here is of a general type and may not reflect the situation for the individual student with AS.

Aspergers Syndrome forms part of the Autistic Spectrum (also known as AS or ASD), a developmental disability which affects the way a person communicates and interacts with others. Understanding that students with Aspergers Syndrome have restricted patterns of behaviour, interests and activity may help you work more inclusively with them.

A number of cognitive, social & sensory features may impact on students’ learning.


  • Students with AS are prone to literal interpretation, with impaired ability to understand the figurative and abstract.
  • An obsessional, perhaps single, interest, often in their subject, or an aspect of it.
  • Seen from the perspective of a student with autism, the ability to focus on a limited number of things of extended periods to a far greater degree than non autistics. This can in appropriate contexts become a strength.
  • At the same time, students may be highly distractible.
  • Strong factual memory.

Impaired social interactions:

  • Inability to read social signs, to pick up cues from others, especially non verbal ones.
  • Monotonous speech & limited eye contact can contribute to this, as may ritualistic behaviours.

Need for a predictable work environment:

  • Preference for sameness & difficulty in coping with changes in routine.
  • Students may wish to sit in the same place for each session.
  • Changes may provoke extreme and disabling levels of anxiety.

Environmental stresses may cause distress, including:

  • Crowded lecture theatres and exam halls.
  • Loud and sudden noises & intense lighting.

Motor skills:

  • Impaired coordination.
  • Slow writing speeds.

Teaching Strategies

Some students use a personal assistant, funded by their Disabled Students’ Allowance, to help mediate interactions, prepare for changes to routine and act as support/reference point.

Steps which can help you meet the learning needs of students with AS or Autism include:

  • Recognising that the inability to read others or understand figurative language & irony may lead to difficulties in discussions.
  • Explaining etiquettes: the unwritten rules we take for granted may need to be spelled out with regard to lecture and seminar behaviour, and exam etiquette.
  • Using explicit and unambiguous rules.
  • Avoiding metaphorical language.
  • Giving information in advance (if possible) about changes in routine/different & new events/venues.
  • Offering or referring to study support in setting work priorities.
  • Visual ways of presenting new concepts may be helpful.
  • Giving extra time to take notes.
  • Minimizing background noise, and alerting students when you can to sudden noise.
  • Being understanding in response to a student’s requests or needs – such as asking always to sit in a particular place, or to tape record lectures for making notes later.
  • Discussing approaches to potentially difficult tasks with the student and/or Disability Service. (This may be especially helpful in managing group teaching situations.)
  • Some understanding of the nature of a student’s impairment may help peers’ responses. This is something for individual negotiation as confidentiality must not be compromised.
  • Being prepared to mediate in group settings and ensuring that a student with AS understands what other group members’ expectations of them are.
  • Reviewing wording of assessments & ensuring that the student does understand just what is required.

Assessment adjustments might include:

  • Modifying the language of questions to remove scope for misinterpretation.
  • Providing a separate exam room to reduce anxiety/disruption to others.
  • Offering additional time for tasks requiring manual skill/speed. Considering offering alternatives to group assessments.

Support from the Disability Service might include:

  • Assistance with Disabled Student Allowance application.
  • Regular meetings with a Learning Mentor to ensure student is understanding requirements of assignments.
  • Assistance preparing for group work.
  • Campus Assistant to help student with interactions and new situations.


Information for education professionals, National Autistic Society:

Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support: (US based website)

Help and advice for parents and professionals tel 08001973907

The stories of undergraduate and postgraduates with AS:

Learning Styles and Autism:

Disability and Academic Skills Service
University of Chichester
Updated November 2011

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Who to contact for specialist help

To book an appointment with an advisor in the Disability Team please phone 01243 812076.

For advice on general disability issues and the impact on your studies, contact:
Steve O'Melia, Disability and Dyslexia Service Co-ordinator
Tel: 01243 812076

For advice on issues related to Specific Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia etc, contact:
Sue Goff, Dyslexia Advisor
Tel: 01243 812076

For advice on issues connected with visual impairments, blind, deaf or hearing impairments, contact:
Sensory Advisor
Tel: 01243 812145
Minicom: 01243 812013

If you are concerned about your mental health, or would like advice on issues connected with a mental health condition, contact:
Simon Peers, The Mental Health Advisor
Tel: 01243 816402

For information on the Disabled Students Allowance and copies of Bridging The Gap,
Tel: 0800 731 9133

Updated January 2014.

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