LSME is committed to the principles of inclusion and equal opportunities. This policy sets out how LSME will meet the challenge of tackling the potential exclusion of disabled applicants for student and staff positions. The College acknowledges that disabled people face barriers in accessing physical environments. Our duty to disabled people is defined under the Equality Act (2010). This act defines disability and also states the need for HE institutions to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students. It also falls within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Quality Code. Expectations for Quality: Enabling student development and achievement.
- Disability: a person has a disability if he or she 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. Some disabilities may be progressive or long term while others may be temporary.
- Learning difficulty: means that the person has significantly greater difficulty in learning than most people of the same age.
- Dyslexia: difficulty in reading or normal comprehension despite adequate intelligence.
“A combination of abilities and difficulties which affect the learning process in one or more of reading, spelling and writing. Accompanying weaknesses may be identified in areas of speed of processing, short-term memory, sequencing, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills. (British Dyslexia Association, 2001)
Individuals with dyslexia vary in the nature and severity of their difficulties, and in the strategies they have developed to accommodate those difficulties. Some may have processing difficulties which may be affected by their environment and self-esteem. These students may also vary in terms of their emotional response to their problem and have never been assessed for dyslexia. This can mean that other people are unaware of the extent of their difficulties. They may put in a lot of effort to overcome their difficulties and demonstrate achievement but because they have never been assessed, they have little idea about the nature of their difficulties but are struggling in a situation which is stretching their literacy and organisational skills beyond previous experience. These students may produce written assignments which do not truly reflect the student’s abilities or the nature of their problems. Their work may be well presented and may be seen as evidence that the student does not require support. On the other hand, work that has many errors and inconsistencies may appear as careless or rushed when, in reality, it is the best of several drafts. Writing is only one aspect of the range of difficulties reported by students however, listening and taking notes in a lecture may be very difficult. They may also have limitations in working memory, resulting in the need to go over texts many times to remember and understand them. Their handwriting may be extremely slow, lacking automaticity, which contributes to spelling errors and/or word omissions. They may struggle with pronunciation of polysyllabic and/or unfamiliar words and have a slow speed of reading; word omissions, problems making sense of print without substantial re-reading with difficulties in reading aloud. These students may also have a tendency to misinterpret or miscopy complex written or spoken instructions with word recall difficulties (spoken and written); often giving the appearance of immature language in relation to complexity of ideas; they may have a left/right confusion leading to orientation difficulties and they may also have some chronic fatigue as a result of the extra concentration and energy needed to meet both the literacy and non-literacy requirements HE.
Disability Disclosure Policy and Procedures for Implementing Them
All applicants for student and staff positions at the College will be encouraged to disclose disabilities prior to admission:
- Disclosure will not prejudice the application and details of how the College will follow-up disclosed disability needs will be discussed with the applicant.
a) All information disclosed will be treated as confidential.
b) Information about additional support services will be made available.
c) Any additional costs associated with support outside the scope of the college will be made transparent.
- Where the college cannot meet the needs of an applicant, it will refer student applicants to other colleges that may be able to meet their disability needs. This will be at no cost.
- The College’s Disability Strategy will follow established and recommended good practice by organisations such as the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and The Council for International Education (UKCOSA).
- The College will consider wider issues such as:
a) Encouraging applications from disabled persons
b) Ensure that staff involved in the recruitment of students are aware of any disclosed disabilities and where to refer students for more detailed information.
c) Acknowledging the fact that not all dyslexia cases have been diagnosed and this becomes the responsibility of academic staff to advice student who are experiencing academic difficulties to be assessed professionally.
Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration
Where the disability is of a nature that the student/staff could not function normally with the facilities at the college, records will be kept as to how continuing and changing needs are met and to what extent special provisions are to be made including reasonable adjustments and special considerations by awarding bodies. Students who develop progressive and disabling conditions while studying with us will be encouraged to stay on the course and achieve their qualification. Reasonable adjustments made will be reviewed and monitored periodically to ensure the support is still relevant and effective. Additional information on some of the adjustments deemed reasonable and special consideration arrangements will be found in our Learning Support Policy.
Reasonable adjustments for staff might include the following:
- Making adjustments to the work environment (including, where necessary, the provision of special equipment);
- Assigning a disabled person to a suitable location of work;
- Allocating minor duties of the person with disabilities to another member of staff;
- Redeployment to a suitable alternative post if no reasonable adjustment to current working arrangements is possible. This may involve retraining the staff member.
- Altering the individual’s working hours (e.g. allowing them to travel flexible hours to accommodate transport arrangements, or changing their hours to fit with the availability of a carer);
- Allowing the person, a reasonable amount of time off for remedial therapy and assessment etc. in connection with their disability;
- Training the individual to use special equipment;
- Modifying selection tests (e.g. providing an oral rather than a written test to a person with restricted manual dexterity).
Reasonable adjustments for disabled students may involve:
- Changing usual assessment arrangements or methods
- Adapting assessment materials
- Reorganising physical environment
- Using assistive technology (including handheld recorders for dyslexic students)
- Allowing extra time e.g. assignment extensions or arranging extended individual learner support for study skills for dyslexic students
- Using readers, scribes, transcribers, and prompters if necessary
- Use of assistive software for students with dyslexia
- Presenting assessment materials in a large format
Access to the Built Environment
Our premises are fitted with an elevator and disabled washrooms to allow access to students with limited mobility. We also ensure that health and safety procedures are inclusive.
Student Welfare and Pastoral Care Support for Disabled Learners
Our Welfare Officer is made available to all learners (including the disabled learners) for matters deemed appropriate. In the event where a teacher suspects any form of hidden disabilities such as dyslexia, the student will be referred to their GP who will arrange for a formal assessment. Once diagnosed a special report will be sent to LSME from the GP on the nature of reasonable adjustment to their teaching, learning and assessment process. The Welfare Officer should be made aware of the case to enable effective follow-up.
Our complaint policy and procedure will also deal with any allegations of non-compliance of LSME’s legal obligations.
The admission team is to encourage all prospective students to disclose any disabilities during the application process explaining the importance of disclosure and additional support offered. Encourage students who declare disabilities to include the supporting medical certificates suggesting the adjustments required.
Lecturers administering diagnostic test should allow more time to prospective students with disabilities. Lecturers should also encourage students who become disabled during their study to disclose the information to LSME. Lecturers provide additional learning support and apply all reasonable adjustments in assessments.
Senior Management is to ensure continuous monitoring and review of this policy. Make financial resources available for all reasonable adjustments. Equal opportunities monitoring will also offer learners another opportunity to disclose any disabilities that occurred during their study.
External Support for Disabled Students
Home students are often eligible for a Disabled Students’ Allowance which provides funding for the above support. The Disabled Students’ Allowance is provided by Student Finance England (SFE). For further information visit https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/products/full-time-undergraduate-education/full-time-disabled-students-allowances/.
Next Review Date: October 2020