The university is legally obliged to ensure disabled students are not substantially disadvantaged in comparison with non-disabled students.

Reasonable adjustments are a key element of the Equality Act. In practical terms this can mean adjustments to university procedures, campus accessibility and the provision of specialist support and equipment.

What are reasonable adjustments?

Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, the university is committed to make 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure that disabled students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in their access to services,  assessment and teaching.

How does the university decide what is reasonable?

In making a judgement about what is reasonable the university will consider the following:

  • the resources available
  • the cost of the adjustment
  • the practicality of the changes
  • the potential benefit to other staff, students and visitors
  • the need to maintain competence standards

Wherever possible the university makes adjustments which anticipate the needs of students, staff and visitors with disabilities.

Some examples of anticipatory adjustments

  • Induction loops in main lecture theatres and portable loops for hearing disabilities
  • Good access to most buildings
  • TextHelp Read and Write Gold™ and Inspiration software available on networked PCs
  • Parking for blue badge holders
  • Magnification and reading software on dedicated machines in libraries
  • Text to speech and mind mapping software networked throughout the university

Individual reasonable adjustments

Where anticipatory adjustments do not meet a student's need they are invited to speak to the Student Wellbeing Service for advice on individual reasonable adjustments.

Individual reasonable adjustments will only be considered where a student has met with a Student Wellbeing Coordinator (disability & dyslexia) and provided supporting medical or diagnostic evidence. Therefore it is important that you register with the Student Wellbeing Service as soon as possible to allow time for your needs to be considered and any adjustments put in place.

What individual reasonable adjustments can I expect?

Reasonable adjustments vary from person to person and also between courses and are considered on a case by case basis. To be considered for individual adjustments students need to provide up to date evidence of need and arrange a meeting with a Disability or Dyslexia Adviser.  It is important that you do this as soon as possible (but not before you have received and accepted an offer of a place).

Presenting evidence

Please do not send copies of medical or diagnostic evidence in the post or electronically unless specifically requested to do so. Also do not hand copies of evidence to anyone within the university other than a member of the Disability & Dyslexia Team.

The role of the Disability or Dyslexia Adviser

The adviser will help you liaise with your School to request reasonable adjustments to your teaching and learning. In responding to an application for reasonable adjustments the university will take into account any recommendations made in your diagnostic evidence or Needs Assessment Report as long as these meet with its assessment policy, costs and resources available, effectiveness, relevant interests of others and health and safety issues.

Competence standards

It is important to recognise that adjustments cannot be made in relation to  competence standards, but to the way the standard is assessed.

Adjustments granted on previous courses

Although every effort will be made to make reasonable adjustments it is also important to recognise that provision of a particular adjustment in the past does not guarantee that it will be applied on current courses. Please contact an adviser to discuss disability related needs as soon as possible.

Contacting us and visiting information - Disability and Dyslexia Centre appointments, visits and staff availability.

Support for study skills and mentoring

1. Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances

The university provides an in house service for students with DSA funding for 1:1 specialist study skills and mentoring. The service is provided during office hours, term time only, subject to availability.

What is 1:1 specialist support?

The UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills guideline No96 (2008) states that the purpose of study skills tuition is to help dyslexic students manage difficulties within higher education through the more effective use of dyslexic thinking styles. The aim is to "impart generic skills, which together with any specialist equipment that has been provided will allow the student to become an "independent learner".

NB. DSA study skills funding cannot to be used to provide extra academic or subject based tuition.

What can I expect if I take up 1:1 study skills?

In higher education students are responsible for developing their own learning; therefore sessions will focus on you, the student, and your evolving needs. The first task will be to establish, with the tutor, your learning priorities. These will form the basis of an individual learning programme that aims to:

  • reinforce and build on successful strategies
  • support you in critical reflection on your role as a learner
  • develop essential skills to enable you to reach your potential
What will the study skills tutor expect?

Once an individual programme has been agreed you will be expected to draw up a provisional schedule and to attend sessions as agreed. If you are unable to attend a booked session you must give at least 24 hours notice. Please note that funding authorities will not pay for sessions which the student has not attended. In such cases the university reserves the right to charge the student directly for the cost of the session. To cancel a support session contact the Student Wellbeing Service or e-mail/phone the tutor directly.

Please note:

It may be appropriate to bring examples of your work to help the tutor tailor sessions to your individual needs. However, it is important to recognise that whilst the tutor will work with your work s/he cannot work on it, or offer advice about academic content.

How to book to see a 1:1 specialist study skills tutor

To book an appointment to see a tutor you should first speak to a Student Wellbeing Coordinator (disability & dyslexia) and provide evidence from your funding authority (SFE/NHS) that they have agreed to pay for your support for the current academic year. Part time, postgraduate and undergraduate students who have not taken out other funding will need to apply for DSA each year using the long version of DSA1

2. Students not in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances

The university provides an academic skills service which can be accessed by all students.

TextHelp Read & Write Gold ™

TextHelp Read & Write Gold ™ is a literacy support tool which is useful for anyone who needs a little extra help with reading and writing.

TextHelp Read & Write Gold ™ version 9 is available on networked computers in the libraries and computer labs on all campuses.  The software operates alongside normal applications like MS Word and it appears as an extra toolbar that "floats" discretely above the open application. This enables the user to access a number of functions to help with many aspects of literacy. Some of the functions it offers are enhanced spell checkers and help with vocabulary through built in dictionaries and links to on-line dictionaries.

A key feature of the programme is its ability to convert written text to speech allowing the programme to read back any text on the screen. TextHelp also provides a number of study features to assist with research and composition, and a feature to teach you how to pronounce words. TextHelp  is easy to use and each function provides a built in tutorial, styled a "video tour". The video tours can be accessed by clicking on the black down arrow at the side of the icons on the toolbar.

Why not have a look at TextHelp Read & Write GOLD ™ and see how it could help you?

To access the software, click on the TextHelp logo on the desktop of any networked computer. To use the text-to-speech facility you will need to bring a pair of simple headphones.

For further advice on using Read&Write and training materials visit the TextHelp Read & Write GOLD ™ website training pages.

Library (ILS) services and assistive technology

Assistive technology software

TextHelp Read & Write GOLD ™ and Inspiration are networked throughout the university.

TextHelp Read & Write GOLD ™ is a literacy support tool that operates alongside normal applications like MS Word.

Inspiration - mind mapping software for brainstorming, organising/planning essays and note-taking - is also networked throughout the university .

Other support needs

Individual support needs relating to Information and Library Services can be discussed with an adviser when you register with the Disability and Dyslexia Service. As with all individual adjustments these vary; typical adjustments include extra time on library loans, help with carrying and fetching books from shelves, special printing and photocopying arrangements and individual induction by arrangement.

More information

TextHelp Read & Write GOLD (TM) can be accessed via the desktop of any networked computer in the university.

Inspiration software

Inspiration is a powerful visual thinking and learning tool that students can use to plan, research and complete projects.

The software is easy to use and will particularly appeal to those who already use mind maps to plan or employ visual learning strategies.

Once a mind map has been created the user can build, refine, add detail and organise it to produce a structured, logical plan. The integrated Diagram and Outline Views possible in Inspiration mean that once the learner is happy with the plan it can be viewed in an outline format which can be expanded into an essay or report.

Inspiration is available on PCs in the university computer labs.

Support workers (non-medical helpers)

Some students with disabilities may need the services of a support worker to assist them with non-academic aspects of their courses.

What can a support worker do?

Support workers fulfil a number of non-medical roles, depending on the student's needs; the most common ones include note takers, readers and scribes for exams,  BSL  interpreters and help within the library.

Paying for a support worker

The university does not fund or recruit support workers. Home students who are eligible must apply to their funding authority to cover the cost of employing a support worker. The Student Wellbeing Service can provide advice on the DSA application process. Non-eligible students (e.g. international and EU students) should explore opportunities for funding from their own governments and charities or consider self funding.

Employing a support worker through an agency

The university has an agreement with an external support work agency, Equality Focus, who can recruit support workers on behalf of DSA funded students with disabilities. More specialised support e.g. BSL interpreting is usually accessed from other external agencies. In all cases the DSA needs assessment report will make recommendations about the type and extent of the support, as well as recommending one or more suppliers. Any concerns about employing a support worker should be addressed at the DSA needs assessment meeting.

Employing your own support worker

If you employ your own support worker you must obtain written permission from the university. You should also check that this is acceptable to your funding authority. Support workers should not normally be members of the student's family unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Access to university buildings

Access to university buildings for support workers and Assessment Centre staff

All staff, students, affiliates and visitors to the university will need a Greenwich Gateway card to access the university buildings. It will be particularly important for anyone who wants to visit the Stockwell Street Building at Greenwich Campus, as access to this building is by card only.

Details on how to obtain a Greenwich Gateway Card if you are a support worker or are otherwise affiliated with the university.

Am I dyslexic?

Information for disabled or dyslexic students about what support they can expect when they arrive at the university and have registered with the service.

However, some students only discover they have dyslexia or another specific learning difficulty when they are already here. They may have become alerted to the possibility through conversations with fellow students who have similar issues, or through a referral from a personal tutor.

If you suspect you may be dyslexic

If you suspect you may be dyslexic, it may be useful to be assessed by a professional who can properly diagnose the condition. If the diagnostic assessment confirms dyslexia you may become eligible for support through Disabled Students' Allowances and adjustments to your teaching and learning e.g. special exam arrangements.

Further information and resources
A website offering a comprehensive range of techniques for overcoming dyslexia with information and definitions that have been based on scientific research.

Dyslexia and its symptoms

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills.

There are many different definitions of dyslexia. The following is from the British Dyslexia Association.

It is likely to be present at birth and to be lifelong in its effects. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual's other cognitive abilities.

It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effects can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counselling.

It has been estimated that approximately 4% of the population is severely dyslexic with a further 6% having mild to moderate difficulties. The symptoms and the way people experience dyslexia vary from person to person in terms of the areas affected and the severity of the difficulties.

Dyslexic people have many strengths and can be very talented in creative thinking, visual-spatial understanding and practical reasoning. With the appropriate support most dyslexic students do well on their course and successfully complete their degrees.

Some common symptoms of dyslexia

You may experience some of the following if you are dyslexic:

  • a big difference between your verbal ability and your written work
  • a difficulty saying or writing the word you want
  • a difficulty listening to and retaining spoken information
  • a persistent spelling difficulty
  • a difficulty with reading and understanding/remembering what you have read
  • a difficulty with direction - confusing left and right
  • a poor short term memory - remembering names, instructions, lists and tables
  • messy handwriting
  • a difficulty with organising your work and ideas
  • a difficulty with time management
  • increased levels of emotional distress, frustration and a low self-esteem

Further information

British Dyslexia Association
The British Dyslexia Association is the national charity for dyslexia in the UK.

Screening and diagnosis

If you suspect you may have dyslexia you can ask for a dyslexia screening. A screening is where a dyslexia professional looks for indicators of any specific difficulties in your learning caused by dyslexia.

If the screening shows positive indicators of dyslexia you may wish to follow this up with a full diagnostic assessment. The adviser carrying out the screening will be able to advise you about costs and how to arrange an assessment. There is no charge for the screening itself.

What to do next

Apply for a dyslexia screening

Students suspecting they may be dyslexic can arrange a dyslexia screening at the university. If you would like to arrange a dyslexia screening at the university, you will need to complete a questionnaire and short task in handwriting. We ask you to complete these tasks by hand because it gives valuable information about your handwriting and approach to forms.

If you have examples of marked work or notes it may also be useful to bring these to the screening.

When you have done this you can make an appointment for a screening. Tell the person making the booking you want an appointment for a dyslexia screening. At busy times there may be a waiting list for screenings.

What happens in the screening

What to expect from your dyslexia screening. The purpose of a screening is to look for indicators of any specific difficulties in your learning caused by dyslexia. During the course of a screening "soft" signs of other specific learning difficulties may emerge but at present there are no reliable screenings tools for these other difficulties. If you have concerns about other specific learning difficulties like dyspraxia or ADD/ADHD, it may still be worth doing the dyslexia screening, if only to rule it out.

The adviser carrying out the screening will conduct a structured interview based on your completed questionnaire and writing task. You will also be asked to complete some computerised or paper based screening tasks. You will be able to opt out of the screening process at any stage if you wish to.

If you have evidence of a previous screening which showed positive indicators it is not necessary to be screened again. Make an appointment (ask for a dyslexia advice appointment) and bring your evidence with you. If you do not have any evidence you will have to repeat the screening process.

There is no charge for the screening.

Paying for diagnostic assessments

Information on sources of funding if you have been referred for a diagnostic assessment.

Eligible students may be able to get funding towards the cost of a diagnostic assessment from the Greenwich Hardship Fund (subject to availability of funds).  To apply for this funding students must first undertake a dyslexia screening or provide written evidence of a recent screening.

The Greenwich Hardship Fund is only open to students who are fully registered onto their course and the fund cannot pay for tests retrospectively.

Students seeking other types of diagnostic assessment (e.g. ADHD, Asperger Syndrome) should consult their GP.

More information on the Greenwich Hardship Fund

You may be able to receive funding from the Greenwich Hardship Fund if you have been referred for a diagnostic assessment.