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Information for Students

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New Students

If you have indicated a disability on your application form, you will be sent a letter inviting you to meet with the Disability Officer to discuss your disability, medical condition or specific learning difficulty. 

At your assessment we will discuss and agree support to be put in place for your arrival at Stranmillis University College.  These might include:

  • Liaising with Heads of Departments to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.
  • Assisting with your application for Disabled Students' Allowance.
  • Arranging support providers, including note-takers, library assistants, proof-readers, etc.

General Information for Students

Students who wish to contact the University College about their access needs, often arising from various disabilities and specific learning difficulties should meet with the College Disability Officer in the first instance.  It is recommended that students get in touch at an early stage in order that the necessary support is in place as close to the start of their course as possible.

Students with disabilities have the right to equal access to facilities and courses offered throughout the University College, and an equal opportunity to work, learn and receive reasonable resources and academic adjustments that will enable them to reach their full potential.

The College Disability Officer (028 90384513, b.booth@stran.ac.uk) is located in the Student Support Centre and will play a key role in co-ordinating the following services for prospective and current students who have access needs.

• Offering one-to-one consultations to discuss detailed individual requirements.
• Making referrals for diagnostic tests, eg to an educational psychologist.
• Giving advice and assistance about contacting the Education & Library Board to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) (www.studentfinanceni.co.uk)
• Arranging appointments with QUB Disability Service for DSA assessments (www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/disability/)
• Arranging appointments with Occupational Health.
• Liaising with Tutors, Advisers of Studies, Heads of Departments and other University College departments to arrange reasonable adjustments and ensuring that maximum support is made available.
• Keeping in regular contact with students to review support requirements and to obtain student feedback on the effectiveness of the support.

Students can apply for a DSA which will enable them to purchase relevant equipment such as a computer with screen magnification, and the additional support they may need.  The latter could include extra time for examinations and the use of a computer in exams, extended library loans, arrangements with lectures regarding handouts and lecture notes, or permission to record lectures.

The Library also has a range of equipment, eg spellcheckers and Dictaphones which students may borrow until their own DSA funded equipment arrives.

Confidentiality

It is strongly recommended that any student with a disability or additional needs due to a medical or other difficulty register with Disability Services as soon as possible.

Any information regarding any student’s support needs will only be disclosed on a “need to know” basis to those staff who require it in order to make any adjustments necessary to enable full participation in student academic and other opportunities.

No information will be disclosed without consent being given by the student and confidentiality and privacy will be respected at all times.


Physical Access and Health & Safety

Students who wish to discuss physical access to the campus or Health and Safety issues should contact the Disability Officer, the Estates Manager or the Domestic Bursar in the first instance. 

The campus at Stranmillis University College is well established and recently significant alterations have been made to help make the campus buildings more accessible.  Most of the key learning environments are now accessible by lift and ramps have been introduced in appropriate areas.  The Library and IT services have fully accessible workstations as well as various assistive software packages and hearing loops are installed in some buildings.  The improvements to campus are on-going and further assistive technologies for dyslexic and visually impaired students are planned.

Stranmillis University College currently has the following facilities (see web link below).

http://www.stran.ac.uk/informationfor/undergraduatestudents/studentsupportcentre/disabilityservice/

There will be close liaison with the Estates department regarding audits of the physical environment with the view to assisting students with disabilities.

Accommodation

Students with disabilities requiring on-campus accommodation should contact the Domestic Bursar and also inform Disability Services/Estates Services about any specific arrangements to be made regarding their accommodation, for example, emergency alarm systems for learning impaired students.  A number of tailored rooms are available for students with mobility difficulties but these are limited, so early application is advised.

Educational Facilities and Support

The type of support that the University College arranges will depend on the student’s individual needs as determined by an assessment interview with the Disability Officer.  The type of support could be one or more of the following:

1.1 General Support

General support is given to all students and support for students with disability could include

• Arrangement of University accommodation
• Campus orientation tours
• Assistance with parking facilities
• Accessible rooms and furniture.

1.2 Learning and Teaching Support

Academic programmes utilise learning and teaching strategies that are aimed at making course delivery as inclusive as possible.  As well as electronic presentation packages and whiteboards most of a student’s course materials are available on Queens online, which is an electronic learning environment.  Each individual student will have appropriate adaptions and adjustment arrangements in place. 
 
This could include:

• The provision of Xerox’s of OHP’s
• Materials in alternative and accessible formats eg audio, large print, documents printed on pastel paper
• Materials available in advice of lectures/seminars
• Recording of lectures
• Access to Support Provider, e.g. Dyslexia Support Tutors, note-takers or typists.  For more information on the role of Support Providers please see: www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/disability/Services/SupportProviders/
• Asking Tutors to make sure they repeat any questions from other students, so that a student with a hearing impairment is fully aware of the content.

The Disability Officer will liaise with Heads of Departments and Advisers of Studies in order to ensure that any reasonable adjustments are being implemented.

1.3  Examination Support and In-course Assessment

The University College always tries to ensure that students with disabilities are not at a disadvantage in their examinations or in-course assessment.

Alternative arrangements can include

• Extra time or rest breaks
• Use of a quiet room with individual supervision
• A scribe, reader or interpreter
• Adapted written materials, eg large print, pastel coloured paper
• Use of a computer for written examinations
• Tape recording of exam answers in an alternative supervised room or other negotiated arrangements where necessary.

Academic staff are normally informed of students who have specific learning difficulties and it is recommended that staff adopt appropriate marking strategies.  An example of good practice with regard to inclusive teaching is Sheffield Hallam University’s Accessible Assessments.
http://www.shu.ac.uk/services/lti/accessibleassessments/

1.4  Support for Placement Students

The University College Placement Tutors are informed of any reasonable adjustments that students may require during placement.

Tutors, with the student’s consent, are able to liaise with placement providers on the student’s behalf to ensure that appropriate adjustments are put in place.

 
1.5  IT Provision and Support

The University College has excellent IT facilities with network access for all students.  The IT staff are committed to giving advice to students about specialist equipment, such as ergonomic keyboards, large monitors and specialist software, eg scanning and reading software and screen magnification software.

Assistive technology.  Examples of such can be found at
www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/disability/Services/AssistiveTechnology/
and can be funded via the student’s DSA allowance.

1.6  Library Support and Learning Resource Centre

The University College Library is committed to a policy of equal access to information and resources for all students and every effort will be made to respond to individual requests in a positive and proactive manner.  The type of Library support available includes:

• Extensions of short-term loan materials
• Loan of reference materials if viewing/reading equipment is requirement
• Reservation and renewal of ordinary loan material by telephone and e-mail.
• Assistance with photocopying
• Assistance with database searching

In relation to the above support the Learning Resource Centre holds specialist equipment eg Spellchecker and Dictaphones which can be borrowed by students with disabilities.

1.7  University College Facilities

University College facilities aim to be part of an immediately accessible environment for all students and include the following:

1.7.1  Medical Facilities

The University College has a health centre (www.stran.ac.uk/informationfor/undergraduatestudents/studentsupportcentre/occupationalhealth/) with a trained nurse on site.  Students with disabilities such as epilepsy, diabetes, asthma are encouraged to inform the medical staff at the Centre.

1.7.2  Religious and Spiritual worship

The University College has a Chaplaincy team  and a Chaplaincy office in the Students’ Union.

1.7.3  Award Ceremonies

All students have an entitlement to attend and participate in the University College award ceremonies and arrangements can be made to ensure that access and support measures are in place eg access for wheelchairs or signers to interpret the ceremony.

1.7.4  Careers

Stranmillis University College Careers Service makes every effort to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities by providing:
• Guidance and Advice
• One-to-one interviews with Careers Advisers
• Information - Staff are available to provide personal advice, physical access to, and retrieval of all the information resources.  Where possible, efforts will be made to provide information in an alternative format, if required.
• Events and career programmes - Careers staff will consult with academic staff as appropriate to ensure students with disabilities can participate fully. 

1.7.5  Counselling Service

The student counselling service is freely available to students and staffed by a qualified and experienced counsellor.  Most students have problems at some time and many find it useful to share these with someone outside their own circle of acquaintances in order to find help and support.

Counselling offers students an opportunity to talk freely about their situation with someone who won't judge or rush to offer advice.  Students will be encouraged to develop an understanding of what is happening, in order to begin planning for and working towards change.

The Counselling Service is committed to offering a confidential service and the counsellor is very aware of the need to be sure that any information, which is disclosed, will not be passed on without permission.  Although this is most usually the case, absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.  In exceptional circumstances, the counsellor may feel it is necessary to alert a third party, should there be grave concerns about risk of harm to self or others.