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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We offer a broad range of support to all of our students. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions, but you are always welcome to talk to us if you have questions about your specific circumstances. 

What should you do if you're struggling with your work and think you may have a learning difference?

Come to the Additional Learning Support office and speak with an ALS Student Coordinator as soon as possible. The adviser will offer information, advice and guidance on what to do next.

What is an Educational Psychology Assessment?

The assessment is a two-hour meeting with an Educational Psychologist who will take you through a number of cognitive timed tests on reading, writing, spelling, memory, puzzles and visual images. The purpose of these tests is to get a clear indication of whether or not you have a specific learning difference and what form it takes. The outcome will determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in your cognitive profile that may be affecting your learning.

What are the Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)?

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) are non-means tested grants provided by the UK government on top of your other student finance. They are only available to UK students and you don’t have to repay them. You may be eligible for funding if you fulfil the criteria. A disability for funding purposes is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which includes studying and attending lectures. Any impairment will be considered long-term if:

  • It has lasted for at least 12 months
  • It is likely to last for at least 12 months
  • It is likely to last for the rest of the person's life.

The amount you receive will depend on your individual needs and is determined by a DSA Needs Assessor in the form of support hours and resources.

Will DSA continue if you start a Master's course?

No, you will have to reapply for DSA as a Master's is considered to be a new course.

Do you take exams in a different room?

You will be in a different room from the main exam hall but with other students who require extra time or other adjustments. If you have been allocated a room alone you will be in a different room. The rooms will usually be on Talbot Campus in the main exam periods and you'll receive an email for each exam stating which room to go to.

Will exam concessions apply for in-class tests?

Adjustments usually apply to all assessments, but there will be concessions. During in-class tests your faculty will normally provide the room and invigilator but if a reader/scribe is requested, ALS will provide them.

Are Marking Guidelines applied for group work and on-line assessments as well as for course work?

ALS Marking Guidelines can be applied to on-line assessments by stating it in the header and footer. You must also state ‘ALS Marking Guidelines’ in the comments box when you submit your assignment, this is for word documents and all non-word based documents so that the marker knows you have this adjustment.

Marking Guidelines do not apply for group work. However, it may be appropriate to attach Marking Guidelines to any work completed only by yourself within the group work.

Do you have to disclose your disability on practice, placements or at work?

There is no legal obligation to disclose a disability, but it is always best to follow a policy of transparency with your practice/placement mentor or employer. Under Health & Safety legislation, you are obliged to disclose a disability if you are working with children, vulnerable adults, chemicals, dangerous equipment or where there are other health and safety implications.

Do you provide proof reading and transcription services?

No, we don't. Sometimes the DSA will pay for these services if your disability warrants it, but you'll need to source a proof reading service.

What should you do if the laptop from the DSA has broken?

Check that the laptop is under warranty and contact the company who supplied it. If it is out of warranty, you should contact the Assessment Centre, where you had your needs assessment, for an update.

What kind of evidence is acceptable to prove that you have a disability, mental health difficulty, medical condition or specific learning difference?

If you have a medical condition, sensory impairment, disability or mental health difficulty we will need a letter from your GP or Consultant explaining how your condition affects you in your studies.

If you have a specific learning difference (SpLD) you will need to provide an Educational Psychology Assessment Report.

The Sir Michael Cobham library - silent study room

Reasonable adjustments at BU

You may be eligible for reasonable adjustments to learning and assessment so that you are not significantly disadvantaged.

Girls using laptop in library

Learning and disability support

If you have an additional learning requirement or need any kind of assistance during exams contact the Additional Learning Support team