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Accessibility and disability

All students should have an equal opportunity to experience university. We provide confidential information, guidance, and practical support to students with a disability or specific learning difference.

Please tell Student Support about any disability (including dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism spectrum, mental health illness/medical conditions, sensory or mobility impairment) even if you do not think it will affect you while you are at university.

The information you provide is treated as personal and sensitive data in accordance with the Data Protection Act and is made available on a ‘need to know’ basis only to university staff involved with your application and the organisation of support arrangements.

Guidance documents

Accessibility: Access Guides for Bath Spa University campuses/buildings are available from AccessAble.

Disability Rights UK has also produced a useful guide about additional support in HE for applicants, which you can download in PDF format.

Applicants

Academic Access Plan (AAP) questionnaire

All applicants offered a place at the University are invited to complete a questionnaire requesting some information about their disability, specific learning difference, autism spectrum or medical or mental health condition. This information will be used to produce an Academic Access Plan (AAP). 

What is in the AAP?

With your consent, we share information about your requirements for learning with colleagues via an Academic Access Plan (AAP). Your AAP will include recommendations for study in class, for timed examinations (including in-class tests), tutorials, other assessments, placements and field trips. 

If you have access requirements but have not had contact with Student Support, please get in touch with us: studentsupport@bathspa.ac.uk.

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)

The University asks all eligible students to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA). This is the government package that funds some specialist support at university. Please see more information below under Support Available: Funded Support (DSAs). 

Are there other things I should do?

  • Apply for your student finance
  • Complete and return the Academic Access Plan questionnaire, including supporting evidence
  • Contact Student Support to arrange an appointment with an Accessibility Advisor 
  • Apply for your accommodation - include details of any access arrangements
  • Contact social services regarding any personal support.

UCAS disability codes

When completing your UCAS application form, please use these codes to indicate what disability you have:

  • A - No disability
  • B - You have a social/communication impairment such as such as an autism spectrum condition/Asperger's syndrome
  • C - You are blind or have a serious visual impairment uncorrected by glasses
  • D - You are deaf or have a serious hearing impairment
  • E - You have a long-standing illness or health condition such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, chronic heart disease, or epilepsy
  • F - You have a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety 
  • G - You have a specific learning difference such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or AD(H)D
  • H - You have physical impairment or mobility issues, such as difficulty using your arms or using a wheelchair or crutches
  • I - You have a disability, impairment or medical condition that is not listed above
  • J - You have two or more impairments and/or disabling medical conditions.

Support available

Get Started event

Get Started is a three day event that takes place just before the start of the academic year. All first year students who have disclosed a sensory or physical disability, autism spectrum or long-term health condition are invited.

It will be particularly helpful if you are living away from home for the first time and aims to give you the best possible start to your time at Bath Spa. 

For more information visit the Get Started page.

University services

These can include:

  • Special exam arrangements
  • Access to computers with assistive technology
  • Library materials available in alternative formats
  • Drop-in sessions
  • Meetings with an Accessibility Advisor
  • Liaison with your lecturers/tutors about your Academic Access Plan (AAP)
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) and/or Care Plan
  • Peer Mentor scheme
  • Advice on applying for disability-related benefits.

Funded support (DSAs)

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are extra help for eligible students who have a disability, specific learning difference such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, autism spectrum, medical or mental health condition. They are non-means tested allowances for eligible UK students, which pay for extra costs incurred as a result of a disability.

The DSAs may provide:

  • Specialist equipment, such as computer software
  • Non-medical helpers, such as specialist study skills support or a mentor
  • Extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
  • A general allowance for consumables, such as photocopying.

Students are required to make a contribution of £200 towards the cost of IT equipment.

Please note: DSAs do not cover disability-related costs you would have if you were not attending a course, or costs that any student might have.

You're strongly advised to apply as early as possible.

Please see the links below, depending on where you live:

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) and/or care plan

A Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) is a working plan of escape in an emergency evacuation for students who may require assistance or special arrangements to escape to a place of safety from University buildings (this includes anyone with a temporary impairment or who is in the later stages of pregnancy).

A PEEP is written by Student Support, in collaboration with the student, their Area Safety Managers, Health and Safety, and Student Accommodation (as appropriate). The PEEP is subject to review for each new academic year and following any changes in the student’s condition, regular locations or buildings used.

Care plan for students with intermittent medical conditions

The Care Plan is a document for students who have intermittent medical conditions that may require assistance in the event of an incident. It is shared with the Field(s) of Study via the course leader(s), First Aiders, Library, Housing, Resident Life Assistants, and Security to ensure that the appropriate actions are undertaken in an emergency situation.

A Care Plan is written by the Student Support Service, in collaboration with the student. It is subject to review for each new academic year and following any changes in the student’s condition, regular locations or buildings used.

Transition to University Programme (for students on the Autism Spectrum)

This is a two day event for applicants who have disclosed an Autism Spectrum condition which takes place in July at the Newton Park campus of Bath Spa University. The event is particularly helpful for you if you’ll be living away from home for the first time and aims to assist your transition into university.

For more information visit the Transition to University Programme page.

UCAS guidance and support

UCAS have produced a helpful list of FAQs about DSA that you can find on their website

Further information

Specific Learning Differences (SpLD)

The term Specific Learning Difference is an umbrella term for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (AD(H)D). Each of these learning differences have similar characteristics that cross over between individual diagnoses.

Having an SpLd can impact an individual’s capacity to take in, process, remember and recall information. Learning confidence; personal organisation and coordination can also be affected. Impact can range from severe to moderate to mild.

Specific Learning Differences occur across a range of intellectual abilities. A person with SpLd will also have many strengths, for example the ability to think laterally and visually; problem-solve, creativity, logic and artistic flair.

If you think that you might have a Specific Learning Difference, the University offers a full screening process. (Please keep clicking on the blue writing until you get to Quickscan for Step 1). The screening process will focus on dyslexia as the more common diagnosis, but it is also a useful starting point for people who think they may have ADHD or Dyspraxia.

Both ADHD and Dyspraxia are diagnosed by medical health professionals, so we also recommend speaking to your Doctor to discuss how they can help.

More information can be found in the NHS Health A-Z

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common Specific Learning Difference that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. It can also impact an individual’s capacity to take in, remember and recall information. Dyslexia is present throughout life and may be hereditary.

Dyslexia affects one’s ability to learn in the conventional way. A student with Dyslexia could experience issues in the following areas of study:

  • Reading and note-taking
  • Spelling
  • Grammar and punctuation
  • Organisation
  • Handwriting
  • The ability to write down or express your ideas
  • Time management
  • Short-term memory.

Having Dyslexia is not an indicator of low intellectual ability. This is a common misconception. In fact, there are many positives that those with Dyslexia may experience, including the ability to think laterally and problem-solve, as well as creativity, logic and artistic flair.

It is also not uncommon for individuals with Dyslexia to have more than one type of learning difficulty. The term Specific Learning Difficulty is an umbrella term for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. These learning difficulties have similar characteristics that can easily cross over between individual diagnoses.

If you think that you might have Dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difference, such as Dyspraxia or AD(H)D, the University offers a full screening process.

You can also find out more on our Specific Learning Difference Hub

Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder

Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (AD(H)D) is a Specific Learning Difficulty that affects attention, impulsiveness, distractibility, organisation and the ability to follow instructions. It is caused by a chemical imbalance that controls these areas of the brain.

AD(H)D affects one’s ability to learn in the conventional way. A student with ADD/ADHD could experience issues with the following while at university:

  • Concentration
  • Fidgeting
  • Impulsive behaviours
  • Interrupting people/finishing other people’s sentences
  • Starting tasks without finishing existing ones
  • Losing things
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Going off on tangents
  • Note-taking
  • Organisation and time management
  • Short-term memory.

People with AD(H)D may also experience additional problems such as sleep and anxiety disorders.

AD(H)D can be treated using medication or therapy. Medication needs to be prescribed by qualified psychiatrist and then monitored through your GP.

Having AD(H)D is not an indicator of low intellectual ability. The term Specific Learning Difficulty is an umbrella term for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (AD(H)D). These types of learning difficulty have similar characteristics that can easily cross over between individual diagnoses.

If you think that you might have Dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difficulty such as Dyspraxia or ADHD, the University offers a full screening process.

Autism Spectrum Condition

Autism affects the way a person processes information and relates to others. The main areas of difficulty for a person with an autism spectrum condition are social communication, social interaction and social imagination. Asperger syndrome is often described as a "hidden disability" and affects people in different ways and to varying degrees.

Starting university can be an exciting but also challenging time for any new student. For students on the autism spectrum, meeting new people and adjusting to new routines and environments can be demanding.

Our dedicated Accessibility Advisor is available to discuss your individual requirements before your arrival and throughout your university life.

Specialist services within Bath and North East Somerset

Autistic Spectrum Conditions Services (Sirona Care and Health)
The service is for adults who have been diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition.
Telephone: +44 (0)1225 831566
Email: chns.admin@sirona-cic.org.uk

Bristol Autism Spectrum Service (BASS)
Advice service for adults with autism diagnoses in Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
Telephone: +44 (0)1275 796200
Email: awp.bass@nhs.net

Blind, visually impaired, or partially sighted

Sight loss affects individual students differently and ranges from those who have no perception of light at all (total blindness) to those who have a sight loss which is uncorrectable by aids such as glasses. Your eyesight may have been affected from birth, by an inherited condition, by an accident or through illness.

Many activities might be easy for you but some parts of university life may be challenging, such as reading textbooks, getting around the campus and recognising people.

External sources of support

Snowdon Trust: If you have a physical or sensory disability and are in post-16 education, you can apply for help with additional disability-related costs that are not fully provided for you from available statutory funding.

Deaf or hard of hearing

You may have had a hearing impairment from birth or early childhood or it may have developed more recently. Your hearing might be affected in one or both ears and could range from profound deafness to a mild impairment.

You might use hearing aids to assist you or you may communicate through:

  • Sign language e.g. British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Lip-reading.

You might not give yourself a label or you might consider yourself to be:

  • Part of the deaf community
  • Partially deaf
  • Partially hearing.

External sources of support

Snowdon Trust: If you have a physical or sensory disability and are in post-16 education, you can apply for help with additional disability-related costs that are not fully provided for you from available statutory funding.

Physical and mobility impairments

These terms describe a wide range of conditions that may affect your whole body or a part of it. Some conditions that may be affecting you include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Arthritis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Spinal cord or brain injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Their impact may vary according to how you are feeling on a particular day or on what task you are doing. You may need to use mobility equipment to move around, such as a wheelchair or crutches, and you might need to consider the accessibility of buildings and the campus, and the activities that may be required in your studies. You may also need to consider if you might require any support from others to help you to carry out daily tasks.

External sources of support

Snowdon Trust: If you have a physical or sensory disability and are in post-16 education, you can apply for help with additional disability-related costs that are not fully provided for you from available statutory funding.

Long-term medical conditions

Some of the long-term medical conditions that may be affecting you include:

  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • EDS, Hypermobility
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Crohn's
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Cancer.

The way in which your university life is affected will depend on your diagnosis and individual circumstances. Your diagnosed long-term medical condition may be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010 which would mean you may be entitled to support or adjustments at university.

Mental health conditions

Mental health affects us all and we can all experience times of poor mental health, when we feel down, stressed or anxious. Usually such feelings will pass, but sometimes they can develop into a more serious condition and that can happen to anyone. In fact, one in four people will experience a mental health condition at some point in their life.

If someone has been experiencing difficulties with their mental health for a while they may be given an official diagnosis by their GP. Below is a list of some of the more common mental health diagnoses:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Eating problems (Anorexia/Bulimia/bingeing)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Self-injury and suicidal thoughts.

The way in which a mental health condition may affect your university life will depend on your diagnosis and individual circumstances. The dedicated Mental Health Support Coordinator is available to discuss with you your individual requirements before your arrival and throughout your university life.

Your diagnosed mental health condition may be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010, meaning you could be entitled to funded support or adjustments at university.

Specialist services within Bath and North East Somerset

Primary Care Liaison Service (PCLS)
Short-term support offered to people experiencing Mental Health difficulties. Services include assessment and referral if necessary. If you are already under the care of a local mental health team, it is advised that you contact the PCLS before starting your course.

Phone: +44 (0)1225 371480

A local NHS mental health service offering advice, counselling and courses to improve mental health.

Phone: +44 (0)1225 675150

Information for Needs Assessors

Needs Assessment Centres

Details of Bath Spa University's current rates for NMH (Non-Medical Helper) provision are available on the DSA QAG website.

The main provider of NMH support at Bath Spa is Randstad. Students with a sensory impairment often receive specialist NMH support through a provider such as Interpreting Solutions.

Please note: the facility to provide content capture is not embedded within all subject areas.

​For more information and to discuss recommendations for individual students, contact studentsupport@bathspa.ac.uk.

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