Student Wellbeing Services
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Access at Lancaster
For more information about facilities at Lancaster , or to arrange a visit, please get in touch with Debbie Hill, Disabilities Adviser on:
We have been working hard for over twenty years now to provide supportive facilities and a welcoming environment for disabled and dyslexic students. We consult with a wide range of students and staff to find ways to continue making improvements.
Our policy statement on the admission of disabled students states:
“The University welcomes applications from disabled students and seeks to increase substantially their representation within the student body. Decisions on admission will be made primarily on academic grounds.”
This guide gives you detailed information about current provision. Make use of it and of us - we are here to help you decide if Lancaster University is the place for you.
Professor Paul Wellings
If you have significant support needs, or are unsure whether we can meet your needs, we suggest you contact Debbie Hill to discuss these. You may want to arrange a visit in the months before you make a formal application, or extend an open day visit, to discuss your individual requirements. If you come in term-time, we can arrange for you to meet students and teaching staff too.
If you have or had a mental health problem and are concerned about this in relation to your studies, or University life in general, please get in touch and we would be happy to discuss your concerns in confidence.
You'll see from our admissions policy above that we make every possible effort to give your application due consideration. Your academic qualifications and capacity to undertake the course are our prime considerations - and these are what the departmental admissions tutor will primarily be looking at. Disabilities Service staff will also see your application and be in touch with you if you have indicated a disability or support needs, either when we receive your application, when your place is confirmed, or shortly after you arrive, depending on the complexity of the arrangements you and we may need to make. For courses where interviews are a regular part of the admissions process, we hold academic interviews separately from discussions about your requirements and how these may be met.
Campus facilities include a range of shops, cafes and bars. A wide range of films, plays and concerts are held in accessible venues. The Sports Centre will welcome you and help you to find ways to use its facilities. The Centre's swimming pool has accessible changing facilities and a hoist to assist users in and out of the pool.
Campus Health Services include GP facilities including mental health services, sexual health advice, physiotherapy sessions; a private dentist's surgery; and pharmacy. For those who prefer alternative therapies there are a number of natural healthcare practitioners based in the Chaplaincy Centre.
Free, confidential counselling and welfare services are available for all students and the college-based personal tutor system is also available for all undergraduate students. The Graduate Students' Association is also available.
Information Technology: in computer rooms, particular workstations have been prioritised for disabled students' use. High quality printers and scanners and an optical character recognition system are available to all students. There is also a large screen monitor to help with computer training for partially sighted students.
The Assessment Centre: Lancaster University Assessment Centre can assess computer equipment and other study aids and strategies you may need to gain equal access to the curriculum in your chosen field of study. Further information is available at the Assessment Centre webpage: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/sbs/disabilities/assessmentcentre.htm or by emailing the Assessment Centre email@example.com
The University Library has two rooms housing a PC with scanner and speech synthesiser, a stand alone Kurzweil Personal Reader and a colour CCTV text enlarger. These rooms may also be used if you need to dictate notes to helpers. To simplify direction finding, the building and contents are colour-coded. By appointment, a member of staff can provide you with one-to-one training and assistance within the Library. This might include helping to retrieve books from the shelves; or by arranging an individual introduction to the computerised catalogue; or by liaising with personal support workers. For further information see website: http://libweb.lancs.ac.uk/g44.htm
Centre for Employability Enterprise & Careers (CEEC) : staff are trained in issues relating to disability and employment. There is a range of information for disabled students seeking entry to the graduate job market, including 'Leadership Recruitment', a partnership between Scope and national employers providing paid work experience and development training, and dedicated reference files in the Information Resource. For more information, see http://careers.lancs.ac.uk
Students' Union : the Students' Union Officer for Students with Disabilities provides informal support to disabled students and liaises with University staff. She/he convenes a forum for students with disabilities and college representatives. She/he also represents the rights of disabled students on the Students' Union Council.
Lancaster 's campus is compact, with pedestrians and traffic well separated. There are ramped routes to all buildings in general use by students, although a few of these are a little longer than routes with stairs and in one or two cases, less well protected from the weather. All teaching departments are accessible, though lifts in some buildings have narrow doors and there are some additional access difficulties for wheelchair users in the Music and Theatre Studies Departments. (Do get in touch to check, though, to find out whether or not these would affect you.) The ground floor areas of residence buildings are accessible. Easy accessible toilet facilities are available in or near most buildings across the campus. We have a map which details accessible routes, lifts and accessible toilets. Please let us know if you would like a copy.
We can put you in touch with local Social Services Mobility Officers and Guide Dogs for the Blind who can provide mobility training immediately before the start of your course or during a visit in the summer.
The campus is three miles from Lancaster 's city centre. There is an accessible bus service covering the centre and south end of the campus. There are accessible taxis. We continue to work with local transport providers to improve the accessibility of public transport.
The Disabilities Service co-ordinates links with various agencies to provide a range of support for students with differing needs. Full-time personal care at Lancaster has usually but not always come from Community Service Volunteers (CSVs) who live in rooms close to the students with whom they are working. The Disabilities Service co-ordinates supervision of CSVs and makes arrangements to pay them, once sources of funding have been agreed. Part-time support is provided by local agencies. Staff work actively with applicants and students to ensure they have appropriate equipment and personal support and where possible, that costs are met by Disabled Students' Allowances or other funds.
Accommodation accessible to wheelchair users, with accessible kitchen and bathroom facilities is available, integrated with other student accommodation in six of the nine residential colleges. Other larger than usual study bedrooms are also available for disabled students with particular requirements. We may also be able to make adaptations to suit your individual requirements . Where it is appropriate we usually invite applicants to visit in the Spring or Summer before arrival to consider necessary adaptations with an occupational therapist or a social worker and a member of staff. These will then be done before the beginning of term, in time for your arrival. Where appropriate we can install flashing light fire alarms and doorbells for deaf students. For some students we can make arrangements for a room on campus to be available throughout their course.
If you have a need to store prescribed medication, it may be possible to bring a small fridge to store it seperately from the kitchen food fridges. Please speak to the Disabilities Advisor or College Residence Officer about this.
If you would like to arrive a day or so early in order to find your way around the campus and to get to know new helpers, we can arrange this.
You probably know that study at university is a much more independent process than at school or college. Our aim is to support you in becoming a successful independent learner and in the next few paragraphs we describe some of the ways you and we can make sure that happens. All of it depends, though, on you being pro-active in making contact with the Disabilities Service or other support services, and on you responding to requests for information. If that happens, this is what you can expect.....
We send information, agreed with you, about your support needs, to academic departments so they and you can deal with practical issues to do with your courses. All staff have access to information about teaching students with disabilities and can attend additional related courses.
After you arrive at Lancaster , staff in the Disabilities Service will provide general support, especially at the start of your course, help you with applications for Disabled Students' Allowances for equipment and personal support, and with your help, ensure that you have access to suitable examination and assessment arrangements.
During your time at Lancaster , you will receive a regular email bulletin to keep you in touch with current issues, and to remind you about issues such as booking campus accommodation, making sure your exam arrangements are in place, and specialist careers information. The Disabilities Service Adviser can put you in touch with an agency providing readers, note-taking support, sign language interpretation or extra one-to-one language tuition. Induction loops are available in all lecture theatres and main teaching rooms.
Study Support Advisers are available in each faculty. If you are eligible for DSA, you may be provided with funds for your own study support tutors.
We aim to ensure that you can demonstrate your ability in exams and assessments by ensuring that you are not put at a disadvantage compared with other students. We will look at your needs individually and make arrangements in consultation with you and your academic departments.
Arrangements we often make are for extra time, use of word processor, use of a scribe, enlarged or brailled exam papers. If you are dyslexic, you must have a recent assessment from a psychologist or other qualified practitioner, to qualify for alternative arrangements. In general this must have been carried out post age 16, by an appropriately qualified assessor, and be relevant to your study at university level.
The departments concerned have some experience of supporting students on work/study outside the University campus. They do everything possible themselves and with other agencies concerned to put appropriate arrangements in place.
If you are an undergraduate/postgraduate full-time or part-time British student, you will usually qualify for Disabled Students' Allowances from Student Finance England/LEA, to cover the cost of any additional equipment and human support related to studying and your disability- related needs. These allowances are not means-tested.
In 2010-11 the maximum amounts for these allowances are:
SFE/LEA funded postgraduate students qualify for one Allowance of up to £10,260.
Extra travel costs may also be available because of a disability, but not general everyday travel costs.
Students supported by funding councils may also be eligible for DSA.
We can offer information, assistance and advice about applications for Disabled Students' Allowances. The Students' Union Advice Centre also offers information and advice about benefits you may be entitled to.
If you are not eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances, we may be able to help with a loan or grant from a small University fund; or you may able to borrow computing and other equipment from our small stock.
If you are likely to have extra costs for
• specialist study equipment
• personal study support, such as a note-taker
• personal support for ordinary daily activities
It is important that you clarify where the funds will come from to cover these costs. It may be that your home country or institution can help. Please remember that labour costs in the UK are high compared to some countries and take account of this when planning your budget. You may have an award from an organisation such as the British Council, which you can approach for additional support. You can also apply to the University for a grant which may cover some or all of your study related costs. It may also be possible to borrow computing or other equipment from the Disabilities Service. Some of these arrangements take a long time to organise, so it is important to get in touch with the Disabilities Service Adviser as early as possible to start the process. We regret that it is unlikely we will be able to pay for help with day- to-day tasks (for example, shopping or doing laundry).
Reports about the Disabilities Service and related provision go every year to the University's Equal Opportunities Committee and then to the Student Support and Welfare Policy Committee. These committees are responsible for maintaining the quality of services to students.
It is important for us to know if you feel you are not getting a satisfactory service from University staff.
From September 2002 the Disability Discrimination Act was extended to higher education.
It is unlawful to treat a disabled person less favorably than a non-disabled person for a reason connected with their disability. Educational institutions must also make reasonable adjustments so that disabled people are not put at a substantial disadvantage.
The University has a programme of developments to respond to the new law and to check that what we do already meets the new requirements.
If you have any queries about the legislation or concerns about the way you have been treated at Lancaster , please raise them with Debbie Hill, Disabilities Service Adviser, tel: 01524592109 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For general advice about making a complaint see: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/sbs/welfare/complaintsandappeals.htm
Over the next three years, you are likely to notice developments in these areas:
• improved physical access, though our major building programme means that there will be some disruption to routes around campus
• development of learning mentor support
Here is what students say about us:
“I have been deaf in one ear since the age of 18 months and coming to university posed a few concerns regarding my safety at night with hearing fire alarms and also in hearing lectures. I thought I would see how things went on first arriving at University and so didn't seek help until I was already here.
After attending the first week of lectures, I realised that taking notes and hearing everything in the lecture was becoming increasingly difficult and so I made an appointment to speak to the student adviser about the difficulties I had encountered. The advice and support from them was fantastic and they pointed me in the right direction for advice on equipment and funding for additional support.
The help the university has provided for me has been outstanding and has really helped me progress through my studies at Lancaster . The support from the university has been there for me when I needed them most and it helps to reassure students that help is available and that it will continue throughout their degree.”
I am a mature student taking the part-time MA Creative Writing programme. After being accepted on the course, the arthritic conditions that led to my early retirement flared up. Despite two operations and various palliative treatments for my hands, I was struggling when I contacted Student Support in the first term. Here I was, a writer who couldn't hold a pen! How could I manage the weekly written requirements of my course, let alone the final portfolio of 30,000 words? Assessment provided me with a new computer, training and a raft of aids. Further health problems meant I had to take a gap year. Although frustrating, intercalation has made me get to grips with the new equipment and improve my health, largely thanks to frequent Pilates sessions.
I'm back and really enjoying the course. My department and fellow students have been so supportive, even acting as scribes in seminars.
Both an automatic car and a disabled parking slot have made the journey manageable. LUVLE helps. I'm in the middle of an online conference, so I'm part of a seminar group without even leaving the house. The paperwork for the Disabled Students Allowance is daunting and you do have to be proactive, but Student Support is always on hand.
Rachel Rycroft, English and Creative Writing
We keep up-to-date ourselves by being in touch with a number of regional and national disability organisations, in particular:
• Skill (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities)
• Community Service Volunteers (who often send around 8 volunteers to work at Lancaster each year)
• Co-Sign, Bolton
• Dyslexia Institute
• National Network of Assessment Centres
• National Association of Disability Practitioners
• Disability Rights Team
We are building links at various levels with several other regional HE institutions and with colleges of adult and further education.