What is a reasonable adjustment?

A ‘reasonable adjustment’ is an alteration to a policy, procedure or practice that will remove/reduce a specific disadvantage or barrier that arises as a result of a student’s disability and enables the student to better participate  in their course. An example of this would be to provide an individual room and extra time for rest breaks during examinations to allow a student with a spinal problem take breaks during which they can stand up and stretch. Access to the individual room ensures that the student does not have to disclose their disability to their peers while simultaneously ensuring that their peers are not distracted as a result of the adjustment; access to the extra time for rest breaks ensures that the student’s writing time is not reduced because they need to stretch thereby allowing them the full time to complete their paper.

Reasonable adjustments may be applied to all areas of University life and to the University’s estate. 

How do I request reasonable adjustments?

As part of our commitment to inclusive practice, the University has put a number of anticipatory adjustments in place that are available to all students. If a student requires individual adjustments, they must register with the Disability & Dyslexia Team and establish their right to adjustments by providing appropriate evidence. Please refer to our Standards of Evidence section for further information. To protect academic standards, adjustments can only be put in place after suitable evidence has been received. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain appropriate evidence and submit this to the Disability & Dyslexia Team. Please note that there are time restrictions for some adjustments, such as examination recommendations, and where evidence is received outside of these time restrictions, it may not be possible for adjustments to be put in place immediately.

Who decides what reasonable adjustments are needed?

The requirement for reasonable adjustments will vary according to the needs of the individual. The University relies on the recommendations of professionals to identify the most appropriate adjustments for the student concerned. Recommendations will usually be based upon an individual student's medical or psychological diagnostic evidence. In addition, where a student has received an Assessment of Study Needs and Study Strategies Report (Needs Assessment) as part of their claim for Disabled Students’ Allowances, additional recommendations made in this report may also be considered. Please note that any recommendations made for university support will be interpreted according to University policy and regulations.

The University accepts that its duty to consider adjustments is continual and evolving and that an individual’s requirements may change during their course of study due to an alteration in their condition. We will always consider each request for additional adjustments on an individual basis, though we may require additional supporting evidence to be provided in support of such requests.

Must the University put all recommended adjustments in place?

The University will always do its best to accommodate adjustments whenever possible; however, there are rare occasions when it may not be feasible for particular adjustments to be put in place. This may be because of the practicality of the adjustment or because it has a detrimental effect on other students. The cost of some adjustments may also make them impractical to implement, for example, where major building work would be involved.  In addition, some recommendations may not be feasible if they conflict with University policy or regulations. The University will, however, consider all requests on their individual merit. 

Similarly, where, for reasons of confidentiality, a student requests that information about their disability is not disseminated to their School of study or other named areas within the University, this may limit the ability of the Disability & Dyslexia Team to put particular adjustments in place.

In terms of academic study, it may not be possible to put in place a reasonable adjustment where it conflicts with an academic competence standard. Where competence standards are involved, the University has a duty to put adjustments in place to help the individual to meet the standard, but not to alter the standard itself.

There may also be time restrictions which affect when a reasonable adjustment can be put in place. For example, timetabling demands mean that there is a deadline for examination adjustments. Students who do not provide sufficient evidence to the Disability & Dyslexia Team before the examination deadline may not be able to have adjustments put in place for the set of examinations to which the deadline refers. Adjustments would only apply from the following set of examinations onwards.

Personal support can occasionally be affected by the availability of support workers.  Some types of support worker, such as communicators, are in high demand and must be booked in advance. Similarly, where the requests for support come in at the end of an academic term, there can sometimes be issues with availability as most support workers are already fully booked. The University will do its best to keep this type of problem to a minimum, however, we do encourage all of our applicants and students to contact as early as possible so that we can work with the agencies involved to put your support in place. 

Where a student is entitled to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances but either refuses to do so or fails to submit subsequent application forms, the University may decline to put adjustments that should be funded from these allowances in place until it receives confirmation that the funding has been claimed. The University has the legal right to take this funding into account as the allowances are mandatory and non-means tested and therefore available to all students who meet the eligibility criteria. The University reserves the right to recover support costs in these instances.