Advise me about...... Support for learners with disabilities
Most learning providers ask for declarations of disability when you apply or register but you decide what information you share. If you have a disability then you may be able to get extra support to ensure you can complete your course or training programme.For example, you may need specialist equipment or extra time to complete assignments and your provider can help with this. The earlier you talk to a learning provider about your disability the better as it can take time to assess your needs and put the support in place. Most have someone to talk to and to help draw up a support plan, this is usually someone in learning or disability support. If your learning includes time spent in the workplace (for example an Apprenticeship) it is important that your needs are considered in the working environment and discussions with any employer need to take place.
Further or adult education courses
Sometimes there are costs involved in ensuring you have the support you need and how this is funded does depend on the type of course you are taking and your age. If you are taking a further or adult education course then the college has additional money to pay for reasonable adjustments. This is usually called additional learning support.
Higher education courses
If you are applying to HE using a centralised application system (for example UCAS - which is used for most full and some part time courses) then you will be asked about the nature of any disability (including mental health condition or learning disability) and the support you may need and this information will be passed over to the individual HE providers so they can work with you to assess your needs. If you are applying directly to a HE institution then it is likely you will be asked about any disability on their application form. It is important to think about the benefits of disclosing your disability when applying to HE. It is important to remember that universities and colleges are very inclusive and are set up to help you where they can. Most importantly, disclosing your disability at the application stage will help you to arrange any support you need before you start your course and how they respond to your needs can influence your final decisions about what and where to study.
Sometimes there are costs involved in ensuring you have the support you need and this is may be funded through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs), which is money to cover any support identified during your needs assessment. However, this way of funding support is currently under review (with the plan for HE providers to cover costs of support) so you will need to keep updated using the recommended links below. If your needs are complex then there are specialist education and training providers that you may wish to consider.
Work based learning
If you are considering a work based learning programme then your employer or placement provider will want to assess your needs and agree what support can be provided to allow you to carry out your training. Employers are not legally allowed to discriminate on the basis of disability and under the Equality Act 2010 both employers and learning providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities. Training providers can use additional learning support funding to cover the cost of these adjustments and there is also additional financial help available through the ‘Access to Work’ (only available if employer is based in England, Scotland or Wales) if you are entering a new work based learning programme.
If you are receiving benefits it is important to find out if taking a course has an impact on this. By and large part time courses will not affect income related benefits but it is important that you check this. Full time courses are likely to impact on benefit entitlement and again it is important you understand the implications of this and are given help to work out what funding you are entitled to as a disabled learner.
Detailed guide to Apprenticeships for disabled learners:
Guide to apprenticeships for disabled learners PDF
Useful guide to disclosing a disability when applying for education:
Disclosing your disability on Disability Rights website
Disability Rights UK home page for education and skills. Lots of great advice and fact sheets to download, including information about benefits and other financial support:
Education and skills on Disability Rights website
A guide to Further Education by Disability Rights UK:
Guide to Further Education by Disability Rights PDF
Overview of Disabled Students Allowances for those applying for HE courses:
Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) on Gov.uk
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Detailed guide to Apprenticeships for disabled learners:Disabled learners PDF
Useful guide to disclosing a disability when applying for education:Disability Rights website
Disability Rights UK home page for education and skills.Education on Disability Rights
A guide to Further Education by Disability Rights UK:Guide by
Disability Rights (PDF)
Overview of Disabled Students Allowances for those applying for HE courses:Disabled Students' Allowances
(DSAs) on Gov.uk
A guide from UCAS for disabled people interested in HE:Students with disabilites
on UCAS website
Leonard Cheshire DisabilityLeonard Cheshire