Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre
Information for DSA Assessors
This page aims to provide information that is commonly required for Needs Assessment reports. If you require further information, or have specific recommendations not otherwise covered in this information, then please contact us on 023 9284 3462 or email@example.com to discuss the matter with one of our Disability Officers. At least one of our Disability Officers is always on call throughout the year.
Recommendations for reasonable adjustments
All recommendations made by Needs Assessors will be considered within the context of the University's policies and procedures and implementation is at the University's discretion. It is requested that the Needs Assessment report should clearly state that these are recommendations only and are subject to agreement by the University.
Teaching and Assessment
There are no sympathetic or two-tier marking arrangements at Portsmouth. While all reasonable adjustments to the processes of assessment are made, no adjustment is made to the outcome. Instead, the emphasis is on the provision of relevant study skills support, inclusive marking practices and adjustments to the assessment process.
'Sympathetic' adjustments to coursework deadlines
Unplanned extension of coursework deadlines as a general adjustment for disability is not available at Portsmouth. Instead, should a student be unable to maintain the pace of study required for their course due to disability, a mutually agreed structural adjustment such as a reduced overall pace of study or alternative modes of assessment is put in place from the outset. Any unplanned adjustment of deadlines arising through unforeseen worsening of a known disability is already explicitly provided for within the University's normal Extenuating Circumstances framework rather than as a reasonable adjustment.
The University does not recognise proof reading as an appropriate support strategy, as the expectation is that submitted products are entirely the student's own work. Instead, students are provided with study skills techniques and the associated technology with the intention of making them better able to carry out their own proof reading.
The University Library does not allow extended loan periods as this makes many core texts largely inaccessible to non-disabled students. Where a student's disability prevents them from fully utilising the resources within the loan periods available they are encouraged to use the DSA General Allowance to cover the costs of either photocopying materials or the purchase of key texts.
- Separate Rooms
Insofar as is practicable, assessors are requested to take into account the implications of recommendations that will have an associated need for a separate examination room and invigilator for a single student. With around 900 students in receipt of DSA such recommendations place a severe additional strain on University resources with suitable rooms and staff already at a premium during examination periods. Current arrangements are as follows:
- Students with extra time only - accommodated as a separate group.
- Students using keyboards - normally accommodated as another separate group to avoid distracting non-users.
- Separate rooms are provided where the student's support requires vocalising (e.g. scribe) or, exceptionally, for students with mental health problems. Recommendations for less resource intensive provision for students with mental health problems (such as accommodation in small group rooms, special seating arrangements, etc) would be appreciated wherever possible and sufficient.
- Where reading software is used, students are required to use headphones unless their disability precludes this.
- E-learning and Recording
- The University promotes active use of its virtual learning environment, on which copies of course materials are maintained.
- Students who wish to do so are also permitted to record lectures, provided this is only for the purposes of supporting their own studies.
Transport and Parking
Parking for Blue Badge Holders Only
Parking in the city of Portsmouth is extremely restricted, and equally so within the University's control. Therefore priority parking can only be considered for those students in possession of a disabled persons parking badge (Blue Badge Scheme). For these students a free parking permit is made available to par k in designated disabled parking bays. There can be competition for spaces at peak times, so there is no guarantee that spaces will always be available in the immediate vicinity of each and every University building.
Those who do not qualify for a University parking permit, but for reasons of disability need to park nearby, are encouraged to apply for DSA contributions towards alternative transport costs such as taxis. Please note that those requiring taxis within the city of Portsmouth area would otherwise be able to benefit from free transportation using the University's bus service. Therefore the Funding Authority should not deduct an equivalent public transport cost from the student's expenses.
Free University Bus Service
A free, and accessible, University run bus service connects the main campus areas, Southsea and the Langstone Student Village.
Priority Allocation Protocol
The University will consider prioritising Halls accommodation allocations for those students with profound mobility-limiting disabilities, sensory impairments, and social/communication difficulties. The same does not apply for students who simply experience organisational difficulties on account of cognitive impairments such as specific learning difficulties.
Difference between En-suite and Shared Accommodation Costs
The University provides both catered and self catered accommodation in both shared and en-suite options. Where a student requires en-suite accommodation due to disability, the following comparisons should be given for the nearest equivalent housing with shared facilities. Full details of Halls costs can be found on the University's Student Housing website.
Halls Nearest comparable (shared facilities) Guildhall Halls (self catered) Bateson Hall Rees Hall (catered) Burrell Hall Langstone Flats (self catered) Trust Hall
The University aims to be an inclusive institution accessible to all students and promotes this through the following means:
- The proactive identification and dissemination of good teaching practice through a network of Learning and Teaching Committees
- An Equality Analysis framework that reviews the University's policies and practices (link Single Equality Scheme and Action Plan 2010-2013)
- An Estates strategy that embeds accessibility in all refurbishment, adaptation, planned maintenance and new-build activities (visit DisabledGo to obtain full access details on all the University's premises)
Consequently, the general aspiration is to minimise the number of specific adjustments that need to be made for individual students by the provision of a educational experience and environment that is already as accessible as reasonably possible, thus maximising the opportunities for students to access and address their studies as independently as is possible and appropriate.
Preferred non-medical helper suppliers and costs
ASDAC provides the following support in-house. All our tutors have professional teaching qualifications and accredited qualifications in teaching students with Specific Learning Difficulties.
- Specialist study skills tuition (£65 per hour)
An "Early Start" programme is offered to all new entrants who have a confirmed place, DSA funding, and are able to attend in the three weeks leading up to enrolment.
- Assistive Technology/Software Training (£65 per hour)
ASDAC's assistive technology training aims to maximise the relevance and utility of the hardware/software within the student's specific course context in an approach that emphasises associated study skills as much as the technical features of the package concerned. In this respect it is qualitatively superior to training packages offered by the commercial software suppliers and of considerably more relevance to applications related to the student experience at Portsmouth. ASDAC tutors also have extensive experience of all the software packages currently recommended by needs assessors and keep abreast of new developments through a formal and funded programme of continuing professional development.
- Non- Attendance
ASDAC operates a formal DNA policy that has been approved by SFE.
- ASDAC works closely with our preferred supplier of general Non-Medical Helpers, which is Clear Links. Clear Links provide a full range of support worker services for note-taking, mobility and classroom assistance, and interpreting. Our long-standing and close working relationship with them ensures good communication regarding support levels, and enables us to monitor and review support where a student may have failed to engage appropriately. Further details and rates.
- ASDAC is also closely supported by Hampshire Autistic Society (HAS) who run an active academic mentoring programme for students with autistic spectrum disorders through outreach provision based within ASDAC (Cost £30 per hour).
- Interpreting Services are provided via a combination of support from Clear Links Support Ltd and SONUS dependent on the costs of the specific support required. Further details and rates.
- Specialist study skills tuition (£65 per hour)
Associated university provision (Non-DSA)
The University provides a student counselling service for all students. Supply is normally limited to a maximum series of 8 sessions. The service provides various group sessions to address specific areas of frequent concern, including: Emotional Coping Skills, Learning about Bereavement, Supporting Yourself, Managing Stress, and Mindfulness.
Mental Health Advice
The University employs a Mental Health Adviser who is an experienced mental health professional. The Mental Health Adviser is able to:
- Offer information about mental health and the services available
- Provide advice on medication and treatment
- Make a full assessment of needs
- Make referrals to the Psychological Therapy Service or other sources of help where appropriate
The focus of the Mental Health Adviser's work is to address the symptoms and therapeutic intervention, not academic support. Should academic support be required then assessors are encouraged to consider recommending that the student receive mentoring support (see the "Preferred non-medical helper suppliers and costs" section above)
Generic Study Skills
The University provides extensive generic and course-specific study skills tuition and support for all students through taught units embedded within programmes of study. In addition, remedial study skills support for students arriving without prior formal academic qualification or who have been out of education for a long time can be accessed through self-referral to the University's Academic Skills Unit.
Course-Related Software Training
Training on the use and applications of all course-related hardware and software is embedded within taught units delivered at departmental level.
There are ten accessible workstations distributed across campus to maximise access to computers and content for disabled students. These are mounted on height adjustable platforms and have specialist peripherals. They also have specialist book-edge scanners and OCR software to provide a means of loading text-based materials into the PC environment for manipulation by the assistive software located on the University's servers.
Networked Assistive Software
Assistive software is available for student use on the University's networked workstations, including:
- Text Help Read & Write
- Zoom Text
The University Library provides extensive personal support and facilities for disabled students. All members of the library staff can help with:
- Searching the library stock
- Locating stock, checking the shelves and fetching books and journals
- Supply of alternative formats for key texts
- Literature searches
- Inter-Library loans
- Using the database workstations
Confidential support is also available from Elisa Lillicrap, Senior Library Assistant. Tel: 023 9284 3210. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.