Applicants and New Students

If you received support at School or College for example, it is likely that you will be entitled to similar arrangements at University. These could include:

  • The provision of handouts or overheads
  • Access to assistive technology, equipment and software
  • Non-medical personal helpers such as a notetaker, scribe or communication support worker
  • Exam arrangements such as extra time or the provision of a separate room

Don’t worry if you do not know what type of support you will need, your adviser can help you identify what will be best for you. Refer to the sections below to get an idea of what support other students may have had.

Pre-entry visits

These specialist visits for prospective disabled students are in addition to the Applicant Days and Open Days. For students with mobility or sensory impairments in particular, an early pre-entry visit is highly recommended. To arrange a visit, you should contact the Student Services Hub who will put you in touch with an Assistant Adviser from the Accessibility & Inclusion Service. The specialist pre-entry visit can offer information on facilities within the University and the local area, or help you to find any other assistance you need in relation to your studies. This can often involve working closely with key staff in the University as well as some external agencies.

The A&I Service can offer a variety of advice to you throughout the application stage. A lot can be done to start putting things in place even before you arrive, so please make contact as early as possible.

Once You Have Accepted a Place

In addition to organising a pre-entry visit as detailed within the previous section, the Accessibility & Inclusion Service can then help you to:

  • Assess your learning needs
  • Begin to compile a Needs Assessment Report which will outline any adjustments required for classes, course work, assessments and examinations.
  • Liaise with relevant members of staff from academic to Estates and Campus, Residential Services or Information Services and others
  • Apply for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) or other support funding
  • Contact external agencies to arrange support of required
  • Arrange a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)

No adjustments will be implemented automatically. You must take responsibility for initiating a discussion about your support needs with the A&I Service and no individual adjustments will be made without discussion and your agreement being given.

Please Note: For support recommendations to be fully put in place, you will be required to submit a copy of suitable supporting medical or psychological evidence (for example; a GPs letter/Audiologists report or Dyslexia Assessment etc.). It is your responsibility to provide this. If you do not have suitable evidence then please download and print the medical evidence form, and pass this to your GP to complete DSA supporting evidence GP letter proforma

You will also need to complete the Initial Identification of Needs form. Once completed please return it, along with the Medical evidence form to A&I through the Student Services Hub. You can do this via email to Ask@stir.ac.uk or alternatively you can post it to Student Services Hub, Cottrell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA.

Please remember that specific arrangements (especially if they include employing personal carers) can take time to put in place so the quicker you act the better.

On your arrival at University

If you have not already done so, it is recommended that you make an appointment with an Advisor from Accessibility & Inclusion to ensure support arrangements are put in place.

  • At this stage the A&I Service can:
  • Assess your learning needs (if this has not already been done)
  • Begin to compile an Needs Assessment Report which will outline any adjustments required for classes, course work, assessments and examinations.
  • The completed report will be summarised into a document called the Agreed Record of University Adjustments or ARUA
  • With your permission your ARUA can be viewed by relevant people within the University
  • Help you complete your DSA application
  • Liaise with relevant members of staff from academic to Estates and Campus, Residential Services or Information Services and others
  • Arrange a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)
  • Match you with suitable non-medical personal helper support and advise you on how this support works
  • Contact external agencies to arrange support if required.

No adjustments will be implemented automatically. You must take responsibility for initiating a discussion about your support needs with the A&I Service and no individual adjustments will be made without discussion and your agreement being given.

Please Note: For support recommendations to be fully put in place, you will be required to submit a copy of suitable supporting medical or psychological evidence (for example; a GPs letter/Audiologists report or Dyslexia Assessment etc.). It is your responsibility to provide this. If you do not have suitable evidence then please download and print the medical evidence form, and pass this to your GP to complete. dsa-supporting-evidence-gp-letter-proforma.docx

You will also need to complete the Initial Identification of Needs form. Once completed please return it, along with the Medical evidence form to the A&I department, via the Student Services Hub. You can do this via email to Ask@stir.ac.uk or alternatively you can post it to the Student Services Hub, Cottrell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA.

Please remember that specific arrangements (especially if they include employing personal carers) can take time to put in place so the quicker you act the better.


Support with dyslexia & other specific learning difficulties

Students with dyslexia or other Specific Learning Difficulties are required to provide a copy of an Educational Psychologist report (or equivalent) to the Accessibility & Inclusion Service in order for full academic support arrangements to be implemented. Students who wish to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance should note that they will be required to provide evidence of an appropriate assessment for dyslexia /SpLD. For advice, contact the A+I Service. Where necessary, a first or re-assessment can be arranged with a qualified assessor.               

Students who suspect they have dyslexic type difficulties may self-refer to the A&I Service. An initial screening will be done and you will likely be advised to also attend a DROP IN to speak to a A&I Adviser.

If it is appropriate for you, the A&I Service can refer you for a full diagnostic assessment. The cost of the dyslexia Assessment provided by assessors visiting the university is £250 and is paid for by the University of Stirling or through Discretionary funding.

Following the assessment the assessor will write a report of their findings. Once you have your report, you are encouraged to attend DROP IN to discuss further next steps, support arrangements and any recommendations. Recommendations may include support during exams, specialist dyslexia tuition, access to assistive technologies or an application for Disabled Students Allowance etc.
 
Further help and resources

Understanding Dyslexia. An Introduction for Students in Higher Education (Glasgow School of Art, 2000). [Currently on http://www.student-support.stir.ac.uk/advice/disability/screening/documents/UnderstandingDyslexia.pdf ]

This booklet remains useful for students who have recently been diagnosed with Dyslexia.

Dyslexia Scotland

Stirling Business Centre

Wellgreen

Stirling, FK8 2DZ

Tel: 01786 446650

National Helpline: 0844 800 84 84

Email: info@dyslexiascotland.org.uk

 
Dyslexia Action (Scotland)

Napier Hall Street Centre

39 Napier Hall Street

Glasgow, G20 6EZ

Tel: 0141 334 4549

Email: glasgow@dyslexiaaction.org.uk

Dyslexia Scotwest

Dyslexia Scotwest

1 Sandfield Avenue

Milngavie

Glasgow

G62 8NR

Email: info@dyslexiasw.com

Website: www.dyslexiasw.com

 
British Dyslexia Association

Helpline: 0845 251 9002

Email: helpline@bdadyslexia.org.uk

Website: www.bdadyslexia.org.uk

Support with mental illness

Students can make contact with the Student Mental Health Adviser or the Counselling and Wellbeing Team by contacting the Student Services Hub.  Email - Ask@stir.ac.uk, Call - 01786 466022 or face to face at the Student Services Hub at the Queens Court Entrance of the Cottrell Building.

Mobility and sensory impairment and other medical issues

Physical Environment: University Campuses

The University of Stirling has 3 campuses. The Campuses in Inverness and Stornoway are dedicated to Nursing and Midwifery training.

The largest campus is located 3 miles from Stirling town centre and is served by local bus and taxi services. Most buildings are located within the campus with the exception of a few off-campus residences. While most footpaths have gentle gradients there are some areas where steeper gradients or steps are unavoidable. Although access is sometimes not ideal, most areas are accessible by wheelchair users. The notable exceptions are Airthrey Castle (an 18th century listed building) and also in some residences.

All other buildings have been constructed within the last forty years and have provision for level access. Accessible toilets are provided within all main buildings. Teaching and Central Area buildings are equipped with passenger lifts. All main lecture theatres have with wheelchair accessible stations, and modern audio/visual and other support systems installed.

On-going building refurbishment programmes always consider further improvements to facilities for disabled people.
External steps are white edged. Internal stairs are mostly fitted with contrasting edge nosing and, where this is not yet provided; it is included in renewal plans. Lighting levels can sometimes be altered on request within specific working areas.

Unfortunately some students do find some of the larger doors on campus difficult to use. Many doors have been fitted with automated door opening buttons. The Estates and Campus Services Office systematically consider ways to improve access, particularly when refurbishments are undertaken.

The Campuses at Inverness and Stornoway are both located within hospital trust buildings. Both Stornoway and Inverness have good access.

Accessible Parking

Generally speaking, designated parking spaces are located close to the level access entrances of all the main teaching venues and halls of residence. Students wishing permission to use these parking spaces must apply for an additional permit and should contact the Accessibility & Inclusion Service in the first instance.

The Car Parking homepage provides full information for staff, students and visitors.

Disabled Access routes

View our Disabled access campus map, which provides information on parking and access routes.

Accommodation

Early contact with Accommodation Services and a pre-entry visit to assess the suitability of facilities is strongly recommended where there may be particular needs. To arrange a visit, you should contact the Assistant Disability Adviser in the A&I Service in the first instance.

If you have a medical condition such as epilepsy or diabetes, it is advised that you inform Accommodation Services. It is also recommended that you inform those friends living around you and of any First Aid treatments that you may require in the event of an emergency. This simple action could save your life.

Further information about accommodation at Stirling University can be found on the website, at: www.studentaccommodation.stir.ac.uk.

Shopping And Local Facilities

A range of shops and services are located on the main campus at Stirling University. These include: a supermarket, a bank, a bookshop, a stationery and gift shop and a range of coffee shops and catering outlets.

Off campus, in Stirling itself and in Bridge of Allan, are a wide range of shops, restaurants and pubs. These are accessible by bus or taxi. An Access Guide, giving details of disabled access around Stirling is available from Shopmobility on 01786 449606. Shopmobility is located near the Stirling Bus Station and is open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.

GP services and Airthrey Park Medical Centre

All students resident on campus or in the neighbouring area are asked to register on arrival with either Airthrey Park Medical Centre or any of the other local GP practices.

Situated close to the residences on campus, Airthrey Park Medical Centre is an NHS practice working from modern purpose built premises. The practice is independent of the University although it is located on campus.

There is a ramped entrance for wheelchair access and an accessible toilet. Designated parking is provided at the main entrance. There are male and female doctors, health visitors and practice nurses who can liaise with social work, occupational therapy and community physiotherapy if needed. Local psychiatrists hold clinics at the Centre, by referral from the doctors. There is also an NHS dentist.

An information leaflet is available from the practice or you can visit their website at: www.apmc.co.uk

Accessible Transport

Dial-A-Journey, Dial-A-Hire or Dial-A-Shopper
A door-to-door transport service for people resident in Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk Council areas that have a mobility problem and are unable to use ordinary buses.
Tel: 01786 4653
Visit the website
 
Taxicard
"This scheme is available to people with permanent disabilities that cannot use ordinary buses offering subsidised taxi travel" from Taxicard Website Stirling.
Visit the website
 
Shopmobility
Shopmobility is a scheme that lends scooters and wheelchairs to anyone with limited mobility that wishes to shop and make use of facilities in Stirling City Centre from Tuesdays to Saturdays. The scheme is available to residents and visitors alike, and is completely free of charge. Shopmobility is based within Stirling Bus Station.
Tel: 01786 449606
Stirling Shopmobility information

Entitlement Card
Scotland wide free bus travel for older and disabled people (replaces the local bus pass).
Tel: 0845 277 7000
Visit the website

Blue Badge Scheme
Badges are issued to disabled people to allow close parking to their destinations.
Tel: 01786 442645
Or visit the website and download an application form.

Personal And Home Care Support

A health and social care assessment with the social services department of your local council is often the first step towards getting the help and support you need.

Contact your local social work office if you require an assessment of your general living needs (non-academic). For Stirling call: 0845 277 7000 and speak with Community Care and Home Care Services. If your permanent home address is out with the Stirling area, you should contact your local Social Work department. You can find them listed in the phone book. You can also find a list of all local councils and a link to their websites from the Directgov website at www.direct.gov.uk.

A good starting point on the Directgov website might be the Disabled People section where you will find a links to ‘Health and Support’ and ‘Home and Housing Options’ amongst others.

Useful Links

Care Inspectorate: http://www.careinspectorate.com/

Autism Spectrum disorder

The Accessibility & Inclusion Service offers specialist mentoring for students and works with the National Autistic Society to offer a mentoring service for students who require this. For more information, please refer to their website as follows: http://www.autism.org.uk/working-with/education/education-professionals-in-fe-and-he/needs-assessors-supporting-students-with-autism-in-higher-education.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former student experiences

Gayle
PhD Research student

"It is important for me to feel comfortable and safe in my living environment, and the University of Stirling has proven to be outstanding in this regard. Student Information and Support Services (SISS)* and Residential Services have been wonderful in providing disability support and information. They have been very willing to sit down with me, discuss what my needs are, and then find a way to fulfil them. My flat on campus is centrally located in respect to the library and computer labs.
Everything is very accessible for me here; I can live independently. The campus itself is very beautiful, with lots of wildlife all over the grounds. The people here are very friendly and always willing to help. It was a very good decision to come here to study, and I have never regretted turning down the other offers I received."

*Please Note: SISS is the former name of Student Support Services

Natalie

"I am currently doing Honours in Sport Studies, Physical Education and Professional Education at the University of Stirling. I am glad I chose Stirling as it is a great environment which has breath-taking scenery.
 
The best thing about the campus is that it has easy access to the library, shops, sports centre, accommodation, lectures, many cafes and pubs. The town is only few minutes away and has a great range of shops and nightclubs. You can get a bus from University easily.
The University has an impressive range of sporting facilities including a modern gym, Olympic swimming pool, tennis courts and a huge area of outdoor fields. It even has a modern café. The Sport Centre has a wide range of  exercise classes and extracurricular activities.
 
Also, the University has a huge number of different clubs for  people to join in such as sports, music, languages and different types of cultural activities. This is great for social life.
On top of that, the University has a great disability support, I am profoundly deaf and without the support of the University's disability advisors and the support in the departments, I would not be able to do my degree. They do really make sure that you have settled down okay and they will be there for you to talk to them if you have got any problems.
Also, the good thing about Stirling is that it is very flexible with the courses. My course is good for me as I can get some teaching experience during my degree. I prefer this as it helps to gradually build up confidence rather than to do a postgraduate course in teaching."

Stacy
Mathematics Student
Registered blind

“As a student who needs special academic arrangements, the support staff and facilities based within the library (now based in the Disability Service) have helped me to integrate as a student at Stirling. The screen reader programme, JAWS, has enabled me to sit exams and undertake my studies unhindered.”

Andy

"My name is Andy Causton and I have a visual impairment. Having completed a BA Honours in French and German at the University of Stirling in 2007, I studied for an MA in Radio Production at Bournemouth in 2007-08. I was awarded a merit in this and will officially graduate later this year. The course gave me a fantastic opportunity to meet radio-industry professionals and produce a range of features from drama to experimental radio. I am currently undertaking a research-based graduate placement with Shetland Islands Council, examining the impact of the Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act, 2004, on children with Additional Support Needs."


Laura - MSc in Social Work
Written on the 1st of September 2009, Laura graduated in November 2011.

"I chose to attend Stirling because of the support that they were able to provide me during my studies.  I am visually impaired and met with the student support department before undertaking my course to discuss my support needs.  They were very helpful and I was really impressed with their level of knowledge of assistive technology. The University also organised specialised training on a weekly basis, 6 months before I was due to start my course.  The training allowed me to become familiar with the equipment and assistive programmes that the University already had in place.  I found this service really beneficial as when I started my course I was well prepared and had all my course materials converted to an accessible format.

I have completed four months of the course so far and I am about to go out on a three month placement.  During my time at the University a valuable resource that I have used on a daily basis has been the reformatting department based in the library.  They convert books and journals for me into an accessible audio format when I require them and sometimes at very short notice.  Lecturers often suggest specific books and journals to accompany the course modules on top of the recommended book list.  The lecturers and staff on my course have been very supportive and always try to get the course materials for me in advance however sometimes extra materials are chosen just before a lesson.  Any course will never run exactly to the structure set however the formatters have in place a service that is flexible and allows me to overcome these difficulties.
To convert these materials is very time consuming and the formatters have been properly trained to undertake this work.  It would be very difficult for me to undertake my studies on a full time basis and have time to convert the materials myself so I have found this service invaluable.  It also makes a massive difference to me to be able to have the support team on hand in the university to speak to on a one to one basis.  The personal service that they provide means that they are aware of my specific support needs and I feel more comfortable to approach them.  The course involves a lot of reading and research and without the assistance of the library formatters I really cannot see how I would have been able to have kept up with the reading that has been necessary.  I never feel at a disadvantage to other students because I have access to the reading materials at the same time as they do.  I feel passionately that this service has to remain based at the University as it has taken away the stress of worrying about obtaining access to reading materials which are essential for my course.  I can go to the library assistants and ask for a specific chapter at short notice and have it within a couple of days.  This has been very useful when I have needed certain information for an assignment or a tutorial session.

The system currently in place cuts out many of the complications that I would have faced at other Universities as I would have been required to apply for a grant to obtain the finances to then select and pay an external worker.  I fully acknowledge that funding is available to obtain support however in the past I have also been responsible for sorting out the tax arrangements and the timesheets for the individual.  Is this really a responsibility that a student wants to be taking on, on top of full time studies and more normally than not a part time job also.    Not just anyone can do this kind of work as the person also has to have a real understanding of an individual’s support needs and have the necessary training to meet these.  As the service user I need to have the confidence that the people who are implementing these services understand the importance of their work and take their responsibilities seriously.  Stirling University’s current service eliminates all of the above concerns and removes many complications from a grant system that I find disempowering as in my experience I have ended up relying on my family members for support.
Under current legislation the University is required to provide support for all students who have a disability.  I started my previous degree in 1998 and have witnessed much progress over the years with regards the support that is currently provided within further education.  Legislation and policies are put in place to make equality a reality for students with disabilities however in my experience it is simply not enough, just to say you provide or can have access to a service.  For example WEBCT, a programme that is meant to improve the learning experience of students by providing greater access to course information online is not accessible with the speech reader programme JAWS.  Therefore during my induction week the WEBCT training was ineffectual and the training staff were left powerless as to know how best to support me and rectify this issue.  However I have been able to overcome these types of problems with the assistance of the support team who have been properly trained and understand my support needs.  Stirling University is very close to making equality an actualisation with their current formatting service as it is not just about equipment and having a policy written, it is about understanding a person’s needs and educating employees about inclusion.  Stirling University has a very dedicated and professional team who take the time and effort to get to know a student so that they really can support the individual fully.  My decision to attend Stirling University has definitely been the correct one and the support provided for students with disabilities puts the universities miles ahead of other FE establishments.  The support of this service has removed many of the barriers that I have confronted and enabled me fully to undertake a full time course and have the same opportunities as anyone else."

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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