STAART (formerly the *AccessAbility Project) supports students with a disability, long-term health condition, specific learning difficulty, and/or mental health condition to thrive at university.

An introduction to STAART

STAART complements the academic support provided by our Wellbeing team. Disabled and dyslexic students at the University of Greenwich and in the local area (Year 11 onwards) can join up at any time. Here’s an introduction to STAART from our ambassador, Becca.

STAART Principles of Disability (SPoD)

These principles have been created by self-selected University of Greenwich (UK) disabled students, disabled graduates, and disabled staff:

  1. Disability includes physical impairments; neurodivergence (autistic and dyslexic spectra); mental health conditions; long-term health conditions; and/or potentially life-shortening illnesses.
  2. We are not embarrassed and/or ashamed of our disabilities.
  3. Some days are better than others.
  4. Sometimes it may take us longer to work or study than our non-disabled peers, although sometimes we are quicker than our non-disabled peers to achieve the same results.
  5. We are capable of great achievements.
  6. Ninety-two per cent of our disabilities are not visible.
  7. Disabled peers can be our greatest allies and successful supporters.
  8. We are disabled people, not people with disabilities. We are (mostly) disabled by the environment and attitudes rather than our bodies and brains.
  9. We are experts by experience (of our disability/disabilities).
  10. We come in different shapes, sizes, colours, faiths, and genders.

Thank you to all the disabled students, graduates and staff members who contributed to the SPoD consultation. Although the SPoD belongs to the University of Greenwich, we have attached a Creative Commons Licence to enable other organisations to adopt the principles if they choose. If you have any comments/suggestions/queries, please email:

Dr Melanie Thorley
STAART Manager

2 December 2022


STAART SPoD Welcome from Jane Harrington

Thank you to all the disabled students, graduates and staff members who contributed to the SPoD consultation.


STAART is a disability and diversity focused initiative at the University of Greenwich. It was developed in 2007 in partnership with Aimhigher.

We provide information and guidance to disabled and diverse students – both future and current – who have concerns about going to university or completing their studies.

We continue to develop to meet the requirements of disabled and diverse students.

What do we mean by disability and diversity?

Disability in UK universities include the following:

  • A mental-health condition such as anxiety or depression.
  • A specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia.
  • A developmental disorder such as autism or ADHD/ADD.
  • A progressive medical condition such as Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer or HIV.
  • A sensory impairment which could affect the ability to see or hear.

We use the term disability and diversity as a number of our prospective and current disabled students are not always aware that there medical and/or psychological status is classified as a disability.

We believe in a transformative model of widening access which views disabled and diverse students as positive assets to the university, with an emphasis on the student lifecycle which is why we support our disabled students from outreach through to employment and/or postgraduate studies1.

We work to the STAART Principles of Disability (SPoD)2. The STAART Team does not view disability as tragic or something to be ashamed of.

We wear our uniforms and lanyards with pride and are happy to discuss how our disability, mental health difficulty and/or specific learning difficulty has impacted our university education.

This is why we use the term 'sharing' – it’s a much more positive term than ‘disclosure’ or ‘declaration’, which suggests there is something to be ashamed/embarrassed about.

We recommend our future and current students to share their disability with the university. It is better to have support in place and not use it than find yourself struggling without it.

Our equal opportunities policy

1Widening participation strategy in higher education in England (

2STAART | Support | University of Greenwich

What does D/deaf mean?

The term D/deaf is used throughout Higher Education and research to describe students who are Deaf (sign language users) and deaf (who are hard of hearing but who have English as their first language and may lipread and/or use hearing aids).

D/deaf is often used as a short cut to describe both groups who are similar but not exactly the same when it comes to communication. D/deaf is an example of how universities might use different words and terminology from those used in schools and colleges.

See tips for adapting to university.

STAART is a Disabled People (led) Organisation

STAART is a disabled people (led) organisation (DPO) within the University of Greenwich. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)  states that that DPOs must be comprised of at least 51% disabled people, STAART is comprised of 100% disabled people1. This is a deliberate decision.

As disabled staff and students, we are experts by experience which acknowledges that we have personal experience of navigating university as a disabled person. This is very different to second-hand knowledge. We are able to restrict our staffing to solely disabled staff and students by  utilising positive action as stated in the Equality Act 20102.

1Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) | United Nations Enable

2Employers: what is positive action in the workplace? | Equality and Human Rights Commission (

What support can we offer?

Going to university can be challenging for anyone. Students move from a highly structured school or college environment to organising their own studies and social lives.

For disabled and diverse university students, these challenges can be more extensive, so preparation becomes even more important. STAART supports students through this transition.

Our STAART ambassadors – university students with their own disability or diversity – provide balanced, first-hand experience of the achievements and challenges of university life.


The following workshops are available for *disabled post-16s considering university. The workshops can be delivered on campus, schools/colleges or virtually. All of the workshops are interactive utilising Mentimeter software and are 90 minutes long except the Know Your Strengths and Lifestyle for learning which are 60 minutes. There is also time for Q&A at each session.



Preparing for University

Useful information to prepare for university and realistic expectations of university life

Introduction to (free) Learning Technology

Introduction to free learning technology which includes mindmapping, speech-to-text, text-to-speech, colour overlays and bespoke databases of vocabulary.


Academic, social and wellbeing tips for STEMM subjects in university

Know your strengths and learning style(s)

Fun quiz to determine your strengths and possibly career paths & know your learning style(s) and various strategies to match your learning style(s)

STAART & Wellbeing

What support is available for dyslexic and disabled learners considering university.

Thrive not Strive at University

Academic, social and wellbeing tips to get the most out of your university experience.


Academic, social and wellbeing tips for postgraduate students

STAART ambassador

Student life presentation from two  STAART Ambassadors and/or Graduates

Introduction to Notetaking and Notemaking

An introduction to notetaking and notemaking systems, methods and metaphors. Also introducing the NOTE template

Lifestyle for Learning

Tips for maintaining your physical and mental health to ensure you are ready for university learning.

  • Disability in higher education includes physical disabilities; specific learning difficulties; some long-term health conditions and/or mental health conditions.

How can I access support?

There are several ways to access STAART support and our community.

Social media

Follow our Facebook or Twitter accounts for news and information or to talk to us and fellow students.

About our social channels

Transition days

Attend a transition day before term starts to get a tour of the campus and library and meet our STAART Ambassadors.

Our newsletters

Our quarterly newsletter includes latest news and contributions from our team and ambassadors.

Latest newsletters


Come and meet our ambassadors at the STAART desk at Open Days and applicant events.

Sign up for the next event

Useful links

The following national organisations focus on disability and/or education. Most have a variety of useful information.

Action for M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Action for M.E. is the UK's leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with M.E. It provides information and support to people affected by M.E.

  • Website:
  • Address : Action for M.E. PO Box 2778, Bristol, BS1 9DJ
  • Telephone: 0845 123 2314
  • Fax: 0117 9279552
  • Email:
  • Notes: Telephone support Monday to Friday 11am - 1pm

Arthritis Care

Empowering people with Arthritis

  • Website:
  • Address : Arthritis Care, 18 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD
  • Telephone: 020 7380 6500
  • Email:
  • Notes: For an information pack, contact the 24-hour information line: 0845 600 6868

ASBAH (Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus)

The leading UK registered charity providing information and advice about Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

  • Website:
  • Address : ASBAH, 42 Park Road, Peterborough, PE1 2UQ
  • Telephone: 0845 450 7755
  • Fax: (01733) 555985
  • Email:

British Polio Fellowship

The British Polio Fellowship seeks to empower and support all people in the UK living with the effects of polio and Post-Polio Syndrome.

  • Website:
  • Address : The British Polio Fellowship, The Xchange, Wilmington Close, Watford WD18 0FQ
  • Telephone: FREEPHONE 0800 018 0586 (Provided by MCI Worldcom)
  • Fax: 020 8842 0555
  • Email: |

Deafblind UK

Deafblind UK is a national charity offering specialist services and human support to deafblind people and those who have progressive sight and hearing loss acquired throughout their lives.

  • Website:
  • Address : Deafblind UK, National Centre for Deafblindness, John and Lucille van Geest Place, Cygnet Road, Hampton, Peterborough, PE7 8FD
  • Telephone: 01733 358 100 (Voice/Text)
  • Textphone: 01733 358 100 (Voice/Text)
  • Fax: 01733 358 356
  • Email
  • Notes    Information and Advice Line: 0800 132 320

CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth)

Supports those affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, also known as Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathy or Peroneal Muscular Atrophy.

  • Website:
  • Address : CMT United Kingdom, PO Box 5089, Christchurch, BH23 7ZX, UK
  • Telephone: 0800 6526316
  • Email:


Understand it, treat it, beat it!

  • Website:
  • Address : Uncommon Knowledge Ltd, Queens Building, Oban, UK, PA34 5SB
  • Telephone: +44(0)1273 776770
  • Fax: +44(0)1273 774427

Depression UK

To help anyone who is troubled by depression and to provide support for their carers.

  • Website:
  • Address: Depression UK, c/o Self Help Nottingham, Ormiston House, 32-36 Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2EG
  • Email:
  • Notes: We respond to enquiries by sending you a pack of information, by post, under plain cover. This site also contains external links to depression-related help bodies.

Down's Syndrome Association

Information and support for people with Down's syndrome, their families and carers, and the professionals who work with them.

  • Website:
  • Address: Down's Syndrome Association, Langdon Down Centre, 2a Langdon Park Teddington TW11 9PS
  • Telephone: 0845 230 0372
  • Fax: 0845 230 0373
  • Email:
  • Notes: The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Dyslexia Action

A national charity and the UK's leading provider of services and support for people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties.

  • Website:
  • Address : Park House, Wick Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 0HH
  • Telephone: 01784 222300
  • Fax: 01784 222333
  • Email:

Epilepsy Action

Taking action to meet the identified needs and aspirations of all people with epilepsy and those with an interest in the condition.

  • Website:
  • Address: New Anstey House, Gate Way Drive, Yeadon, LEEDS, LS19 7XY, UNITED KINGDOM
  • Telephone: 0808 800 5050
  • Textphone: 07797 805 390
  • Fax: 0113 391 0300
  • Email: |
  • Notes: The helpline is open from: 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4pm on Fridays.

LA (Limbless Association)

Providing information, advice and support to UK amputees and the limb-loss community.

  • Website:
  • Address : The Limbless Association, Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton Lane, London, SW15 5PN
  • Telephone: 020 8788 1777
  • Fax: 020 8788 3444
  • Email:

MENCAP (Mental Handicap)

The voice of learning disability. Everything we do is about valuing and supporting people with a learning disability and their families and carers.

  • Website:
  • Telephone: 0808 8808 1111

MNDA (Motor Neurone Disease Association)

The only national organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland dedicated to the support of people with MND and those who care for them.

  • Website:
  • Address: Motor Neurone Disease Association, PO Box 246, Northampton, NN1 2PR
  • Telephone: 01604 250505
  • Fax: 01604 624726/638289
  • Email:
  • Notes: MND Connect offers advice, practical and emotional support and directing to other services and agencies. The service is for people living with MND, carers, family members, Health and Social Care Professionals and Association staff and volunteers who directly support people with MND. Contact 08457 626 262 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

Leads the fight against muscle disease.

  • Website:
  • Address : Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, 61 Southwark Street, London SE1 0HL
  • Telephone: 020 7803 4800
  • Email:
  • Notes: Phone and email information service is here weekdays 9am - 5pm to address concerns about muscle disease. Contact freephone support number 0800 652 6352 and via email.

MS Society (Multiple Sclerosis Society)

The UK's largest charity for people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) – c. 100,000 people in the UK.

  • Website:
  • Address: MS Society, MS National Centre, 372 Edgware Road, London, NW2 6ND
  • Telephone: 020 8438 0700
  • Fax: 020 8438 0701
  • Notes: Email contact available via the website.

The National Autistic Society

To champion the rights and interests of all people with autism. It aims to provide individuals with autism and their families with help, support and services that they can access, trust and rely upon.

  • Website:
  • Address : The National Autistic Society, 393 City Road, London, EC1V 1NG, UK
  • Minicom: 0845 070 4003
  • Telephone: 0845 070 4004
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 7833 9666
  • Email:
  • Notes: Helpline open 10am - 4pm Monday to Friday. Reply to all email and written enquiries within 14 working days.

RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)

A UK charity offering information, support and advice to over two million people in the UK with sight loss.

  • Website:
  • Address: Royal National Institute of Blind People, 105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
  • Telephone: 020 7388 1266
  • Fax: 020 7388 2034
  • Email:
  • Notes: The helpline (0303 123 9999) offers an immediate, expert and confidential service. Many of the helpline staff have sight problems themselves. They are trained to listen and to give reassurance and advice.

RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People)

The largest charity working to change the world for the UK's 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people.

  • Website:
  • Address: 19-23 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8SL
  • Telephone: 0808 808 0123 (freephone)
  • Textphone: 0808 808 9000 (freephone)
  • Fax: 020 7296 8199
  • SMS: 07800 000360
  • Email:
  • Notes: Whichever way you make contact, please include your full postal address as information is often only sent via the postal service. Expect a response within 15 working days for all enquiries.


Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. Whatever you're going through, whether it's big or small, don't bottle it up.

  • Website:
  • Address : Chris, P.O. Box 90 90, Stirling, FK8 2SA
  • Telephone: 08457 90 90 90
  • Email:
  • Notes: Emails are always answered by real human volunteers, there are no "automatic" responses. We try our hardest to get back to you within 24 hours. If you need immediate support, you can telephone at any point and speak to a Samaritans volunteer.


About cerebral palsy – for disabled people achieving equality.

  • Website:
  • Address : Scope, 6 Market Road, London, N7 9PW, England, UK
  • Telephone: 0808 800 3333
  • SMS: 80039
  • Email:
  • Notes: For more information on Scope's services, cerebral palsy, or any aspect of living with disability, Scope Response offers confidential advice and information on 0808 800 3333 (9am-5pm weekdays, closed weekends and Bank Holidays). You can also email or text SCOPE, plus your message to 80039.
  • I've made a lot of friends through STAART. I credit the group and Melanie for how well I've managed to juggle study, life, care responsibilities and work. I couldn't have got through it without them.

    - Zoe Robinson, BSc Human Nutrition

  • STAART is one of the main reasons I came to the university, and one of the biggest driving factors that kept me going.

    - Bradley Cory, BSc Biology

  • Having STAART during my degree was an immense support. It was like having cheerleaders all the way to the finish line. With every struggle, there was always someone there to give me support or listen to me.

    - João Martins, BSc Psychology with Counselling

  • STAART has been integral to my experience as a disabled student. It has given me the confidence and the opportunity to do things I would have never imagined possible two years ago.

    - Rebecca Cordina, BSc Biology (Extended)

This is what I'm destined for

Following a stroke at the age of 16, Bradley's interest in biology has continued to grow. He is now pursuing a PhD in the biology of wound healing.

STAART Articles