School of Computing – Support for disabled students
The School of Computing is committed to supporting all students, including those with a disability. We provide prospective and current students who describe themselves as having a disability with clear and comprehensive information that sets out the support that is available to them.
We expect students to familiarise themselves with this information and take up all the support opportunities on offer, where applicable, so as to enable them to make the most of their time at University and achieve to their full potential. We also encourage students to ask any questions they may have about the support we provide and to ensure that they fully understand the answers they receive. We work in partnership with our students to improve the support available.
The support the University provides follows the students, from enquiry and application through enrolment, on-programme support to completion of studies and graduation. The School of Computing is central to the provision of this support and we work, together with disabled students and central support services, to ensure that they are supported appropriately throughout their time at University.
The School's procedures and practices in support of disabled students
Information for applicantsClear, comprehensive and up-to-date information is provided on our website and in the documents provided at Open Days, and sets out all the information agreed as necessary for students at this stage of the process. The website includes the School's policy statement on support for disabled students, giving clear guidance to applicants as to the support they can expect, how to inform the University about their disability and how their support needs will be addressed.
Open days and visit days, etc.
Admissions Tutors, and other staff from the School, in close liaison with the University's Student Support and Wellbeing Service, meet with disabled applicants prior to enrolment to discuss their anticipated support needs and advise potential students about the support they can reasonably expect prior to, and during, their studentship. [NB Admissions decisions are made on academic merit alone.] Applicants have clear guidance about their own role in ensuring they receive appropriate support, and have the necessary contact details of staff that can advise them with regards to their disability and anticipated support needs.
There is clear advice and guidance to students with disabilities in any handbook (both paper and web-based) provided within the School. This reiterates the School's Policy Statement, makes obvious reference to the University's disability and dyslexia support service (now part of Student Support and Wellbeing, in Student Services) and its role (including the agreement of Inclusive Learning Plans - ILPs), and reinforces disabled students' own role in ensuring they fully engage with central services and receive all necessary agreed support.
Communication in relation to students, their disabilities and agreed support needs.
The induction for new academic staff and hourly paid lecturers includes clear instructions on the importance of supporting students with disabilities and ILPs. All changes to ILPs, are forwarded to the relevant staff by the Course Administration Office. These arrangements will be explained in the Handbooks so that students understand how all necessary and agreed information is to be shared among staff within the School, and can have confidence that ALL relevant staff (including all those who teach them and/or mark their assignments) are aware of their disability and their ILP, as well as the confidentiality issues relating to students with disabilities.
Agreement and implementation of ILPs
All disabled students are referred to Student Support and Wellbeing at the earliest opportunity to ensure that they have an agreed ILP, in accordance with agreed procedures. Once approved, all relevant staff within the School are notified of the ILP. All information on ILPs is held on SDS and staff are reminded that they must check this regularly to ensure that they are aware of any changes and can make any necessary adjustments. The first staff meeting of each year includes a presentation by the Director of Undergraduate Studies which, inter alia, reminds all staff of their responsibilities in this regard. Disabled students understand the arrangements that are in place so can have total confidence that their Academic Advisers, Lecturers and other relevant staff have their ILP and know how to implement their agreed reasonable adjustments, and both students and staff know whom to approach if they have any concerns. Students are reassured that all information concerning their ILPs will be treated in strict confidence and that their reasonable adjustments will be implemented subtly and without fear that this will be brought to the attention of others or in a way that otherwise might cause them embarrassment. All documentation, including lecture notes, hand-outs etc., are made available on Moodle, in advance of taught sessions to facilitate students' preparation. In addition to the University's system for recording lectures, students, whose ILP includes it, are normally able to record lectures and, with the agreement of all other student attendees, are able to record seminars/tutorials for the express purpose of enhancing their learning experience, having agreed this in writing beforehand with the seminar leader. All required readings are provided electronically for all students via Moodle or as e-books if that format is available.
Submission and assessment of assignments
It is not appropriate for Computing students with ILPs to have an agreed automatic extension as each assessment builds on the previous one and feedback is required to inform subsequent assessments. It is standard practice in the School, therefore, for each case to be addressed on an individual basis and discussed with the student themselves. Where agreed in a student's ILP, assignments are marked in accordance with any reasonable adjustment for their disability.
Arrangements for in-class assessment and examinations
The School ensures that all in-class assessments provide for the reasonable adjustment agreed in a disabled student's ILP. All staff are made fully aware of this and are clear where responsibility lies. Disabled students are advised (without having to ask) that appropriate arrangements have been put place, and that no action in this respect is needed on their part.
The School is committed to ensuring that all staff are made aware of equality legislation, and their role and responsibilities in relation to the law and University policy and procedures. In addition, the School seeks to ensure that its staff approach disability in a positive manner, are fully supportive of disabled students, and are mindful of their disability needs and agreed reasonable adjustments. The School Management team encourages staff to attend staff development and training (including PGCHE) in this area. Their learning and other awareness raising is shared with colleagues through regular staff meetings, RPD, etc. These commitments are made widely known to all staff and included in new staff induction (including that provided for sessional and part-time staff) and are accepted as part of the shared culture of the School. This is communicated to students by appropriate means and is clearly stated in Handbooks, both paper and web-based. 9. Raising concerns and making complaints All students are advised, through School Handbooks and web pages, of the need to raise their concerns at the earliest possible opportunity, via the established and publicised channels, and seek to resolve them informally in the first instance. It is expected that most concerns will be resolved in this way. Where issues cannot be resolved informally, students are made aware of, and referred to, the University's complaints procedures and advised of appropriate sources of support (for e.g. Kent Union Advice Centre) should they wish to take this route.