Applicants Declaring Disability / Special Need
All applications received by the University during the cycle will be referred to the relevant Admissions Tutor for consideration on academic and motivational grounds alone. Where necessary, fitness to practice assessment will be undertaken by the School at the decision making stage. It has been assumed that the former involvement of the Dyslexia and Disability Service in the application of the ‘fitness to practice’ criteria at the pre-offer stage would continue at the Heath Park Campus.
Admissions Tutors are reminded of the need to ensure that any applicants invited for interview are asked about possible disability-related support needs necessary to facilitate the interview.
REGIS will process and confirm to applicants, either directly or via UCAS, all decisions received from Admissions Tutors. REGIS will also inform the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DYSLX) of any applicant with a disability who has received an offer from the University.
DYSLX will subsequently seek further information from the individual applicant, to gather additional information about any ‘reasonable adjustments’ required. It will be essential for this information gathering to be initiated immediately, so that the applicant is clear on the process to be undertaken and ideally prior to their making a decision on whether to accept or decline the offer. Performance indicators will be established for this. Applicants will be advised of their responsibility for supplying information in a timely fashion and that if they do not provide full information, ‘reasonable adjustments’ cannot be guaranteed. Applicants will be offered the opportunity to meet with Advisory staff if appropriate.
The information received will be evaluated within the Disability and Dyslexia Service and recommendations made to Schools and Residential Services (and possibly the Students’ Union — this is currently under discussion) on the individual needs and the ‘reasonable adjustment’ being requested by the applicant. The practicalities (i.e. availability of support, academic adjustments) and residual costs of "reasonable adjustment" will need to be considered at this point in liaison with the Head of School. In the event that the School cannot meet the costs or offer the adjustments deemed ‘reasonable’, the matter will be referred by DYSLX to a Pro Vice-Chancellor. This referral is important as it provides an institutional approach, which will:
- allow for high level consideration of funding implications — in the event of a referral for non-compliance with the legislation, it would be the University’s financial position as a whole which would be considered in the context of paying for reasonable adjustments;
- allow for the collection of information where a School indicates that the adjustments being requested to the programme/assessment cannot be delivered on grounds of academic standards — this can be considered against the accumulation of evidence/experience from the current Teachability (Accessible Curriculum) project.
The Pro Vice-Chancellor may wish to consult with the University Board where appropriate.
It is anticipated that the risk of having to withdraw an offer is minimal. However, should such a case arise, the final decision on whether to withdraw an offer will be made by the Pro Vice-Chancellor in liaison with the Head of School.
In the event of an offer being withdrawn, the applicant will be notified by REGIS (acting on guidance from the Disability and Dyslexia Service on the reasons). An appeals process will be available to applicants. Following an appeal hearing the withdrawal of the offer would either be re-affirmed or overturned.
This process ensures the timely and equitable processing of offers for applicants with a disability, thereby complying with SENDA (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Act). It fulfills the requirement in SENDA to anticipate the needs of students with a disability. The consistent application of the needs assessment to those that are self-declaring at admission will mean that the information is available prior to admission and can be conveyed to the appropriate parties within the University.
This procedure also applies a consistency of procedure, and ensures that decision making is being taken on an institution wide basis, which supports the accumulation of evidence where the University is unable to make ‘reasonable adjustment’.