29 Nov 2018
Supporting students with disabilities and long-term health conditions
As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to continually enhance the Loughborough experience for every student, a cross-University project team has been looking at the way in which we support students with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
The team – led by the Change Team and comprising members of the Counselling and Disability Service (CDS), IT Services, student representatives and other key individuals and groups – began by undertaking a broad review of students’ experiences of key points in their University life.
“We found that students’ experiences of the way in which their disability or health condition was supported were very inconsistent,” said Dr Anne Mumford, Director of the Change Projects team.
“We looked at various aspects of their University experience, including their access to learning and teaching facilities, the exam process and how they were supported while on placement or undertaking fieldwork. We also considered how the University collects and processes information about the students’ disabilities and health conditions.
“Essentially there was a lot of variation in practice across the University.
“As a result of the project we have been able to put in place some processes and systems that will improve consistency and the standard of support we provide for all our students with disabilities and long-term health conditions.”
The project team has developed two sets of adjustments: a standardised set and a set of bespoke ones, where the adjustments are tailored to the student’s requirements in consultation with their School and a CDS advisor.
IT Services have set up a portal that allows prospective students to provide details of their disability or health condition and upload evidence, such as consultants’ reports, of any additional requirements they need. CDS staff can access the portal and record details on LUSI (the University’s student database) of adjustments that need to be put in place for the students prior to their arrival. More than 500 students used the portal before they arrived.
All current students can also log in through the self-service facilities to see the adjustments that are in place for them.
These developments have built upon a pilot initiative last year that saw the Wavy Top building used a central exam venue for students with additional needs. These exams were previously held in the students’ Schools. Feedback from students after the first set of exams was very positive.
Dr Manuel Alonso, Director of Student Services, said: “People with disabilities and long-term health conditions make an active, positive and valued contribution to the life and culture of Loughborough.
“This is an important issue for us all – every academic School and Professional Service section, hall wardens, sub-wardens and hall managers. We all have a responsibility to make sure that everyone at the University has the very best experience at Loughborough. This project is a big step forward in working towards ensuring that.”