Additional support needs in learning

If you have additional support needs, you might be able to get extra help while you’re studying. We’ve pulled together this quick guide to some of the resources available.

Your college or university

Colleges and unis should have someone who can talk through what support you need while you’re studying. This might include special equipment or arrangements to help you attend classes.

Speak to them before your course begins, so that anything you need is in place when you start. This is also something you can ask about at open days, when you’re choosing where to study.

They may also be able to help you find out about funding help.

Check college and uni websites for information. 

Funding

There are lots of resources online to help you find out about funding support:

  • The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website has information about the Disabled Student's Allowance and who can apply
  • Students can also claim Employment and Support Allowance
  • The Scottish Government guide, Supporting you at university gives advice on going to university, the Disabled Students’ Allowance and what support you can request. It also has information about what to do if you are moving to a new area to study
  • Arranging support workers in higher education is another useful document. It looks at ways to arrange support, and some of the things you need to think about if you choose to employ your own assistant
  • Lead Scotland has information on funding and your rights
  • The HE Handbook for Care Leavers is a great resource from The Who Cares Trust, with information on different universities and institutions, including outreach work they do, bursaries and grants available, the welfare and accommodation support care leavers can expect and named contacts to get in touch with at each organisation

Info about other available assistance

  • Enquire  is the Scottish Advice Service for additional support for learning. Find helpful guides about extra help in school, for exams, and on getting ready to leave school. You can search for projects running in your area. They also have a site for parents 
  • The Scottish Transitions Forum has information about your rights as a student
  • Disability Employment Advisers based at Jobcentre Plus can offer specialist advice to disabled people who are seeking or wishing to stay in employment
  • If you have a disability, you may be eligible for free or subsidised travel around Scotland. Find out about the National Entitlement Card
  • Disability Rights UK is a useful resource to find out about your rights

Not sure what you want to do?

Lead Scotland’s Post-school learning choices in Scotland is a helpful guide. It has advice on different kinds of learning, and how to choose what’s best for you. It also contains up-to-date information on sources of funding, practical support for learners and carers, welfare benefits and tax credits, qualifications, and your rights as a disabled learner.

Declaring a disability

There's no obligation on you to disclose a disability to your college, university or training provider. But, if you have a disability, you're protected under the Equality Act 2010. This means you can't be treated less favourably than other people for any reason connected to your disability. Your college, university or training provider also has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people aren't seriously disadvantaged when doing their courses. If they don't know about a disability you have, they might not be able to accomodate your needs at an interview or during a course.

Confidentiality

If you choose to declare a disability, your student record will be updated to include information about your condition. This information is covered by the Data Protection Act, which means it can't be passed on to any third party without your written consent.