What is my role as AccessAbility Tutor?
The tutor is a named person in a department whom any student or their parents can contact from the initial enquiry stage and then throughout their university life. Some tutors attend Open Days and this has been reported as very welcome by parents and students.
The tutor should be able to obtain a list of names of students who have declared a disability on UCAS from the Admissions Office before the start of an academic year, and from the Registry thereafter. The AccessAbility Centre may also let the AccessAbility Tutor know about students who are assessed whilst at the University provided the student gives their permission for this information to be exchanged.
AA tutors could:
- contact students and tell them when they are available. This could be done on an individual or group basis;
- give students information about the AccessAbility Centre;
- initiate tracking of students within the department;
- oversee adjustments. An initial meeting with students would enable the early on and this might pre-empt problems later;
- be familiar with assistive technology and its potential use in department courses;
- contact the Careers Tutor and arrange specific advice sessions for students.
- make sure any placement and field trip type activities have an action plan and that all arrangements are discussed well in advance of the start of the placement;
- arrange/publicise training opportunities for staff;
- collect material from students about their experiences of the department in order to enhance the inclusive learning environment and feedback into future developments.
AccessAbility Tutors need to be familiar with the legislation that affects the University and also be aware of the social model of disability which should be promoted within the institution. Clear departmental policies should be available for students and be transparent at the outset of the course.
All proactive, inclusive teaching and learning provision should have been considered and put in place by departments. These arrangements should be regularly reviewed.
As a result of the legislation detailed below, HE institutions have a duty of care towards students with disabilities and are required to make reasonable adjustments. This includes students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulty (SpLD). It is important to understand the legislation and to be aware of what counts as discriminatory practice.
Disability Discrimination Act DDA 1995
Part IV Special Educational Needs and Disability Act - SENDA 2001
The AccessAbility Centre can give advice on matters relating to specific learning difficulties, but policies need to be framed by the University, and departments need to implement them consistently.