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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We offer a broad range of support to all of our students. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions, but you are always welcome to talk to us if you have questions about your specific circumstances. 

What should you do if you're struggling with your work and think you may have a learning difference?

Come to the ALS office and speak with a Student Adviser as soon as possible. The adviser will offer information, advice and guidance on what to do next.

What is an Educational Psychology Assessment?

The assessment is a two-hour meeting with an Educational Psychologist who will take you through a number of cognitive timed tests on reading, writing, spelling, memory, puzzles and visual images. The purpose of these tests is to get a clear indication of whether or not you have a specific learning difference and what form it takes. The outcome will determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in your cognitive profile that may be affecting your learning.

What are the Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)?

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) are non-means tested grants provided by the UK government on top of your other student finance. They are only available to UK students and you don’t have to repay them. You may be eligible for funding if you fulfil the criteria. A disability for funding purposes is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which includes studying and attending lectures. Any impairment will be considered long-term if:

  • It has lasted for at least 12 months
  • It is likely to last for at least 12 months
  • It is likely to last for the rest of the person's life.

The amount you receive will depend on your individual needs and is determined by a DSA Needs Assessor. ALS can help you to get an appointment for a DSA assessment.

Will DSA continue if you start a Master's course?

No, you will have to reapply for DSA as a Master's is considered to be a new course.

Do you take exams in a different room?

You will be in a different room from the main exam hall but with other students who require extra time or other adjustments. If you have been allocated a room alone you will be in a different room. The rooms will usually be on Talbot Campus in the main exam periods and you will receive a timetable stating which room to go to.

Will exam concessions apply for in-class tests?

Adjustments usually apply to all assessments. During in-class tests your faculty will normally provide the room and invigilator but if a reader/scribe is requested, ALS will provide them.

Are Marking Guidelines applied for group work and on-line assessments as well as for course work?

ALS Marking Guidelines can be applied to on-line assessments by stating it in the header and footer. If any written work is submitted for group work, you should ask members of the group to check or proof read the work. It may be appropriate to attach ALS Marking Guidelines to any work completed only by yourself.

Do you have to disclose your disability on practice, placements or at work?

There is no legal obligation to disclose a disability, but it is always best to follow a policy of transparency with your practice/placement mentor or employer. Under Health & Safety legislation, you are obliged to disclose a disability if you are working with children, vulnerable adults, chemicals, dangerous equipment or where there are other health and safety implications.

Do you provide proof reading and transcription services?

No, we don't. Sometimes the DSA will pay for these services if your disability warrants it. Otherwise, ALS can provide you with a list of people who will proof read and transcribe at various chargeable rates.

What should you do if the laptop from the DSA has broken?

Check that the laptop is under warranty and contact the company who supplied it. If it is out of warranty, you should contact the Assessment Centre for an update.

Do you need to reapply for DSA after going on a work placement?

As long as you apply to Student Finance England (SFE) for funding again and ensure you tick the DSA box on the application form, the DSA will automatically continue. If you do not have SFE funding for the continuation of your course, you will need to apply to SFE again for further DSA.

What kind of evidence is acceptable to prove that you have a disability, mental health difficulty, medical condition or specific learning difference?

If you have a medical condition, disability or mental health difficulty we will need a letter from your GP or Consultant explaining how your condition affects you in your studies.

If you have a specific learning difference you will need to provide an Educational Psychology Assessment Report from the age of 16. Unfortunately, if you have an assessment report from below the age of 16 it will not be acceptable and you will need to be re-assessed.