If you gain a place on an approved programme and you decide to tell your education provider about your disability, you will be entitled to a range of support. This may include reasonable adjustments to allow you to fully take part in the programme, such as accessible resources, extra time and someone to take notes for you. It may also include financial support to help you cover any extra costs that are directly associated with your disability.
A physiotherapy student with rheumatoid arthritis had difficulty taking notes and carrying out some physiotherapy treatment techniques. Disability services at her university were able to provide her with someone to take notes for her and a grant to buy an adapted laptop. Her lecturers were able to provide her with alternative treatment techniques to replace those that caused her discomfort.
A podiatry student with dyslexia has adjustments to allow her to see lecture notes in advance, type written exams or use a scribe, and is given extra time to carry out any reading work.
To find out more about the help and support that is available to you in the place of study you are applying to, contact their disability services. A range of other organisations and charities may also be able to provide you with information about other help and support that is available for your health condition or disability. An up-to-date list of contact details for a number of relevant bodies is available on our website.
Student case study
“I am profoundly deaf with a visual impairment and I was anxious about being able to keep up with the teaching programmes at university. After an assessment to determine my needs I was allocated a package of resources to help me. This meant that I could utilise a communication support worker who took notes for me and used sign language to convey anything I could not hear. I also was able to access a radio aid system which proved invaluable as I could control the volume of other people’s voices. With this support I was able to graduate with a first class degree. I am very proud of what I have managed to achieve and looking forward to gaining employment.”
Continue to disclose your disability to your education provider
During your programme, it is important that you have a realistic understanding of whether you can do tasks safely and effectively. Your ability to do certain tasks or the level of support you might need to carry them out may change over time.
We strongly recommend that you continue to tell the relevant staff any important information about your disability throughout your programme. This will make sure that any adjustments you have in place can continue to provide you with the most effective support.
If you develop a disability during your programme, we would encourage you to tell the appropriate staff. This will make sure that you receive any support or adjustments you may need to help you manage your condition and take part fully in your programme.
All programmes we approve must include practice placements. These are an opportunity for students to gain workplace experience in their intended profession.
Telling practice placement staff about your disability can allow them to arrange any support or adjustments that you need to practise safely and effectively in the workplace. This can help make sure that staff are able to accurately assess your ability and whether you have met our standards. It will also make sure that you are not put in situations which might put you or your service user at risk.
To make sure that you get the appropriate support and adjustments, it is important that you discuss your needs with your practice placement provider before you begin your placement. This will make sure that they are able to put the necessary support in place before you start. There are some examples of adjustments that providers can make to practice placements in the section for education providers on page 43.
Your education provider is likely to have systems in place to help with the move to your practice placement, such as a meeting before the placement starts, but you may want to contact your practice placement co-ordinator or disability services about these.
Student case study
“I have restricted mobility and use crutches, and given this was concerned about going on placement. My university was really supportive in organising my placement and identified and contacted a potential placement who agreed that they were likely to be accessible. I then contacted the practice placement educator to discuss my mobility needs and how we could make it work. I explained that I would be unable to push wheelchair users and the educator said I would be able to see service users who were able to walk, or that they would provide me with an assistant to push wheelchair users. My university was very helpful in liaising with the educator to ensure that all arrangements were in place before I started placement. I think it’s really important to know that sometimes the placement staff are just as nervous as you are, and that being honest and open ensures everyone understands the situation and knows where they are at. My experience on placement was very good. I found that service users related to me particularly well as someone with first-hand experience of reduced mobility.”