Disability Statement: Support for Students


The School of Advanced Study aims to provide a welcoming environment for all – one in which everyone can access its programmes and activities – conferences, workshops and seminars, library provision, and courses. The School welcomes all students who are academically qualified and motivated to benefit from the programmes we offer through our member institutes. This statement summarises the arrangements we have put in place to minimise the barriers to study posed by disability. We hope it will help you judge whether the School might be the right place for you to study.

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Disability and special needs access

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) covers a wide range of conditions and is intended to assist those with a long-term disability (one lasting or expected to last for at least 12 months) that has a significant effect on their ability to study, such as:

  • a physical disability (e.g., limitations to dexterity or mobility)
  • a sensory disability (e.g., visual, aural)
  • impairment due to a mental health condition 
  • a chronic illness (e.g., asthma, epilepsy, diabetes)
  • medical conditions that may cause pain or other symptoms that affect your studies (e.g., side effects of treatment, poor attention, poor concentration)
  • Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorder-specific learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia, dyspraxia)

In line with the DDA, we are committed to making reasonable adjustments to ensure that individuals are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to someone who is not disabled. There are some limits but in practice, according to an individual’s needs, 'reasonable adjustments' can be almost anything. Examples include:

  • ensuring that your classes are scheduled in suitable rooms
  • arranging an alternative room for you to meet your research supervisor or tutor if their office is not accessible
  • making sure that you can access necessary resources on your own computer
  • allowing you to record lectures or have copies of handouts in large-print format
  • adjusting assessment deadlines or the way you submit work for assessment (provided that the academic standard required for success is the same as for other students)
  • helping with access to special equipment

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About the School

The School has approximately 300 students; about 5 percent of these declare disabilities. Each of the School's institutes forms its own academic community with between 15 and 80 students. Tutorial, lecture, and seminar sizes are relatively small, and people know and support each other.

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Disability services

The School has an external Disability Advisor who provides information, advice, and support on disability issues to all School of Advanced Study students and prospective students. The Disability Advisor also advises staff on improving the accessibility of the curriculum and teaching provision as well as buildings and facilities.

If you tell us that you have a disability that may impact your ability to study, the Disability Advisor will contact you to discuss the support available. Together, you will complete a form outlining the support needed; with your permission, the advisor will communicate this information to the course director and relevant staff, who will arrange for the adjustments needed. You may choose to seek confidential advice and support from the Disability Advisor: no information will be passed to others without your permission. However, if you do not grant this permission, the accommodation that the School will be able to provide may be limited.

The disability advisor can also provide you with information on Disabled Students’ Allowance schemes.

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Access to buildings

The Institutes of Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Historical Research, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages Research, and Philosophy are located in the Senate House-Stewart House complex. Because Senate House is a listed building, there are some limitations to the accommodation that can be made. However, ramps, lifts, and accessible toilets are available. Wheelchair users and those with reduced mobility are able to access all necessary facilities although it is not always easy to do so in a fully independent way.  Some teaching and meeting rooms are equipped with a fixed induction loop system for hearing-impaired students and there is a mobile induction loop system for use elsewhere. 

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Warburg Institute are in nearby buildings that have ramps, lifts, and accessible toilets.  Again, although wheelchair users and those with reduced mobility are able to access all necessary facilities, it is not always easy to do so in a fully independent way.

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If you are thinking about applying to the School, you may find it helpful to have a confidential discussion with the Student Administrator in the relevant institute. Application forms and application information can be supplied in alternative formats.

After your application is received, an initial assessment is made of whether you satisfy the academic requirements for the programme in which you are interested. The application form invites you to say whether you have special access or support needs and asks that you provide details on a separate sheet. If you already have expert assessments of your needs, please send copies of the relevant papers. Applicants who declare a disability on the application form will be contacted by the Disability Advisor to discuss the details and assessments provided. This information is treated as confidential and is retained by the Disability Advisor until your application has been considered on its academic merits. Disability is not a factor in our decision about whether you should be offered a place. 

The institutes do not always interview applicants before offering them a place, so you may want to visit the institute to discuss your needs and to help you decide for yourself whether the physical and learning environment is right for you. During this visit, you will normally meet the Student Administrator and the Academic Co-ordinator for the relevant programme.

Information that you provide about your disability (either as an applicant or as a student) is not, without your consent, disclosed to other students, or to anyone who does not need to know. However, the School has a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments to meet your need, and to make these it is usually appropriate for some people to know about your disability. Legally, the School is deemed to know about your disability if it is obvious or if you have told us about it. If you ask us not to inform other staff, we will discuss the implications of that decision with you. Also, for health and safety reasons, you should make known to tutors and fellow students any disability that would prevent you from responding to an emergency situation. 

Like other academic institutions, we maintain records of the number of students with disabilities and whether they are known to receive a Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). We keep such records in order to check that we are not unintentionally discriminating against any category of applicants. For other purposes, such as submitting statistics to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the information is aggregated and presented anonymously.

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Information for study

When you register as a student, you receive documentation such as a student handbook, a handbook for your programme of study, copies of University and School regulations, and other essential information. If you tell us in advance that you need these documents in alternative formats, we will provide them to you at the same time we provide them to all other students. Similarly, material issued during your course can be made available in alternate formats.

Admissions tutors are expected to seek advice from the Disability Advisor whenever there is a concern about the impact of a disability on a student’s ability to follow a course.

The limitations of physical access to parts of the School’s buildings are discussed with students for whom access may pose difficulties. 

It is possible to arrange for new students with impaired vision to be accompanied both within the building and to the tube station or bus stop until they have become familiar with these routes. Your institute can help arrange this in conjunction with Camden Council's Sensory Needs Service

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Library services

The combined catalogue of University of London Research Library Services (comprising the Senate House Library and the institute libraries) is available online, along with a wide range of digital research resources. If you have a disability that affects your use of libraries, arrangements will be made for you to discuss your needs with relevant library staff. The Warburg Institute Library in Woburn Square and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library in Russell Square have ramped access. The Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, Germanic Studies, Historical Research, Latin American Studies, and Senate House libraries are all located in Senate House.

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Senate House Library (SHL)

Access by lift is available to all major open-access areas of Senate House Library. Staff assistance is available to users with physical mobility issues. This includes assistance with wheelchairs, using computers, locating and retrieving material, and photocopying. A postal service is offered for text loans and photocopy offprints (the latter can be delivered as electronic attachments via e-mail). An e-mail enquiry service is available (enquiries@shl.ac.uk).

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Using computers

The School's Computer Room is located on the second floor of Senate House. There is ramp and lift access to this room as well as a staffed reception desk. Additional computers are available in Senate House Library and the institute libraries. Disabled students, including dyslexic students, who qualify for the DSA may receive support for computer purchase. Remote e-mail access and web access to the libraries' digital research resources and e-journals are available. Advice on personal computer adaptation can be obtained without cost from AbilityNet . AbilityNet will also carry out assessments of individual need. It is not possible to alter the set-up of computers in the School’s Computer Room but your personal profile can be adapted to your needs; please contact your Student Administrator to discuss this.

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Personal assistance schemes

If you have a disability that requires personal care (for example, a carer or a note-taker), you may already be receiving financial support for this through the DSA. The School can help you find assistance but you will need to pay for it through the support funding you receive.

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Support for students with specific learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia)

If you have been diagnosed as dyslexic, please share your needs assessment or diagnostic report with us -- it will help the School identify the best ways of supporting you. Some students discover they are dyslexic only after they have started their studies. If you -- or we -- suspect that you may be dyslexic, we can help you arrange an assessment. It may be possible to get ALF support (see below) for the cost of your dyslexia assessment; this assessment may result in funding through the DSA that could pay for special support sessions or for equipment.

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Changes in circumstances

Occasionally, a disability may be diagnosed after you have registered, or you may develop a condition that disables you, either permanently or temporarily. If this happens, you should notify your tutor or your institute’s Student Administrator. This is especially important if the disability is not obvious. Reasonable arrangements will be made to support you.

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If your disability affects your capacity to undertake a particular piece of assessment in the same way, or at the same time, as other students, then reasonable adjustments can be made. The requirements should be discussed when you first register as a student. In some cases, arrangements may be made within each assessment or course. The University’s Examinations Office and your institute's Higher Degree or Research Degree Committee will consider specific arrangements. These might include enlarged print papers, rest periods, extra time, an amanuensis, special seating, or separate invigilation. Alternative methods of assessing the same learning can sometimes be arranged. Written course assessments usually have quite a long lead time. Sometimes assessment involves oral seminar presentations. If the nature of your disability places you at a disadvantage in these types of assessed work, it may be possible to make adjustments either to the deadline or, in some cases, to the way you present the work. It is important to discuss alternatives as early as possible – as soon as the work is set or at least well before the deadline. Although we will make all reasonable adjustments, we will not change the academic standards required to pass.

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Careers advice

The Careers Group, University of London can advise you on the legal aspects of disability and employment, connect you with organisations offering specialised advice for disabled individuals, and provide information on jobs, postgraduate study, issues of disclosure, and specialist equipment. Careers Group staff can provide one-to-one advice and respond to letter, e-mail, or telephone enquiries. Any information disclosed is treated as confidential. The Careers Library contains reference files specifically for students with disabilities that cover the topics of employment, education, and training. The Careers Group are based in Senate House. .

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Most people access Senate House and the Bloomsbury area by public transport. Some disabled individuals living in the London area may be eligible for a London Transport Freedom Pass, which allows free travel on public transport;. The borough in which you live will be able to tell you if you are eligible. There are a number of underground stations and many buses that follow routes very near the School, but they tend to be crowded and may pose some difficulties. Transport for London’s Access unit offers information about schemes such as Dial-a-Ride, Taxicard and Capital Call, and Community Transport for subsidised door-to-door transport for people with mobility impairments. 

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There are several disabled parking spaces at Senate House. These may be used only by vehicles displaying a valid disabled permit. You will need to book a parking space 48 hours in advance by contacting the Facilities Management Helpdesk with details of the date and duration for which the space is required together with your vehicle details. Please make the Helpdesk operator aware if assistance will be required on arrival. Your details will be maintained on the Helpdesk database for future bookings. Your institute's Student Administrator can help with contacting Facilities Management.

Facilities Management Helpdesk, Senate House Reception: reception@lon.ac.uk

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Emergency evacuation

If you have a disability that might cause delay in recognising or responding to an emergency alarm, a personal emergency evacuation plan will be agreed with the University Safety Officer. If your disability is likely to affect your ability to evacuate the building, we will ask for your permission to notify your tutors, so they will know how to help you in an emergency.

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Residential accommodation

The School’s students are eligible to apply for accommodation in the University of London's Intercollegiate Halls. Two of these (College Hall and International Hall) cater to wheelchair users and have street level entrances and modern lifts. All of the Intercollegiate Halls make specific provision for students with other disabilities, including those with sight and hearing difficulties and restricted mobility. Wardens oversee the residences. Disabled students can usually find accommodation in a Hall if they apply early enough: dedicated rooms are kept free for allocation to disabled students until the beginning of the academic year. Applications should be made via SAS Registry after you have been offered a place. University of London Housing Services maintains a database of private accommodation for rent. 

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Financial help for disabled students

You may find that, because of your disability, you incur additional costs as a student. This section summarises two sources of financial help for disabled students.

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Disabled students’ allowance (DSA)

As a higher education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability, including: 

• a long-term health condition
• a mental health condition
• a specific learning difficulty like dyslexia or dyspraxia

You must also:

• be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
• have a condition that affects your ability to study
• qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
• be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

You must meet the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010.

The support you get depends on your individual needs and not on income.

You can’t get DSAs from Student Finance England if you’re:

  • an EU student
  • eligible for an NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance (this is a separate scheme)
  • getting equivalent support from another funding source, for example, from your university or a social work bursary

Innformation on how to apply for a DSA can be found here.

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Access to Learning Fund (ALF)

The School receives a small amount of money each year from the government to help students with unexpected financial hardships. You can apply for help from ALF at any time during the academic year. Disabled students are encouraged to apply to ALF especially in cases where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs, such as the cost of a diagnostic test for dyslexia. For information, contact the Disability Advisor or your institute's Student Administrator.

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The student’s responsibilities

Please let us know about your needs in good time so that we have an opportunity to address them. 

Please give both positive and negative feedback so that we can improve our services -- let us know if the recommendations for your support are not carried out. 

Please let us know if your situation changes and you need more, or different kinds, of support.

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Feedback and contact

Comments and suggestions can be made, in confidence if you prefer, to your institute's Student Administrator, to the Disability Advisor, or to the School's registry office (sas.registry@sas.ac.uk).

This statement can be provided in alternative formats.


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