Published for 2023-24
|3.1 What are Reasonable Adjustments?
|3.4 How a Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA) works
|3.2 When to use Reasonable Adjustments
|3.5 Acute episodes and fluctuating conditions
|3.3 What support is available?
|3.6 Frequently Asked Questions
|In line with the Equality Act (2010), UCL is responsible for anticipating and implementing ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ for students with a disability. We do this by working with you to set up a ‘Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA)’.
|Help and advice
|Help with using these procedures is available from UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) team. Section 1.2: Help and Advice includes more information.
|Your Department has a dedicated SoRA Contact. You can get in touch with them if you have any questions or concerns related to your SoRA.
|Looking after your data
|UCL will look after your data carefully and sensitively. Where your personal information needs to be shared with members of the UCL community in order to facilitate your support, this will be done only with your consent and on a 'need-to-know' basis. Section 1.4: Confidentiality and Looking After Your Data includes more information.
A disabled person is defined in the Equality Act (2010) as someone with "A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities."
|The definition includes (but is not limited to):
|Mobility differences such as wheelchair users, or musculoskeletal conditions
|Sensory differences, such as individuals certified as blind or partially sighted, and those who are D/deaf
|Long-term health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, HIV or autoimmune conditions
|Long-term mental health conditions such as depression, eating disorders or schizophrenia
|Specific learning differences (SpLD) such as dyslexia or dyspraxia
|Social or communication differences such as an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
|Progressive conditions such as motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy or forms of dementia
|Fluctuating or recurring conditions such as bipolar disorder, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, myalgic encephalitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
|It is also important to note that:
|Any terminal condition is included regardless of timeframes involved.
|Progressive conditions are covered from the point of diagnosis, regardless of the symptoms.
|Conditions that are intermittent, or that fluctuate in their effects will entitle the person to protection under the Equality Act at all times (provided the condition is likely to recur), even at a particular point in time the condition is in remission.
|Unlike other protected characteristics, the Equality Act (2010) places an obligation on education providers to take active steps to reduce discrimination of students with a disability, impairment, mental or physical health condition, and to make reasonable adjustments to learning, teaching and assessment.
|UCL follows the ‘social model’ of disability. Society is structured in a way that many individuals with protected characteristics experience a number of barriers. The social model views the barriers experienced by disabled people as what disables the individual, rather than the conditions themselves (medical model). Removing these barriers enables the access, participation and inclusion of disabled people in work and study. Reasonable adjustments are one way of removing these barriers for individuals where it is possible and reasonable to do so.
|All UCL programmes require you to reach specific academic standards in order to be awarded a UCL qualification and some also have particular Fitness to Practise requirements or Professional Competency Standards (e.g. for clinicians or teacher training). UCL cannot reduce or change those standards, but we are committed to removing barriers to helping you attain them.
|UCL’s Equality, Inclusion and Diversity website provides further guidance about the definitions of Disabilities and Reasonable Adjustments. If you are unsure if you meet the definition under the Equality Act (2010), you can contact UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing team for advice.
|Reasonable Adjustments can take a wide range of forms depending on your specific circumstances. The following examples are provided to help you understand the types of adjustments that might be available (please note that some adjustments are subject to eligibility criteria):
For lectures, seminars and teaching events
For your assessments
For getting around campus
For your ongoing health and wellbeing
|You can find more detailed information about the types of support available for different circumstances on the Student Support and Wellbeing website.
|UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) team can help you to set up a Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA).
Step 1: Tell us about your disability, long-term condition, neurodivergence or learning difference
Step 2: Make an appointment
Step 3: Provide medical evidence
Step 4: Discuss your SoRA with your SSW adviser
At your appointment, your SSW adviser will discuss your circumstances, experiences and expectations, and the types of support that are available. This may include the following topics:
Step 5: Confirm your SoRA on Portico
Step 6: Receive confirmation from your Department
Step 7: Work with your Department to ensure your SoRA is supporting you effectively
Step 8: Engage with support and keep your SoRA up to date
Step 9: Request regular reviews
3.5.1 What is an acute episode or fluctuating condition?
|If you have a disability or long-term health condition, you may feel better at some times than others. This may be because you have symptoms which change over time, or you may experience ‘flare-ups’, or a period of crisis. Your Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SoRA) is designed to proactively support all the different aspects of your condition, including acute episodes and fluctuations. It does this by anticipating your needs in advance and making sure that you have easy access to effective support when you need it. A typical example is coursework extensions – your SoRA may give you the option of having a one-week extension as and when you need it. It is up to you to decide when to use it. You do not need to ‘apply’ for an extension each time, and you do not need to keep providing supporting evidence; you can just take advantage of the support that is already available to you in your SoRA.
3.5.2 When to use Extenuating Circumstances for a longer-term condition
|Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) are for shorter-term emergencies and unexpected events, including short-term physical and mental health conditions. If you already have a SoRA, you are not expected or required to use the Extenuating Circumstances procedure to support your condition.
|If you have an acute episode or flare-up of a condition and you feel that your SoRA does not provide sufficient mitigation, your first step should be to speak to your Departmental SoRA Contact or a UCL Student Support and Wellbeing Adviser to request a review of your SoRA (see Section 3.4, Step 9).
|There may also be occasions where you have another difficulty which is separate from the condition covered by your SoRA e.g. you might experience a bereavement. You can still apply for Extenuating Circumstances if you need shorter-term support for other difficulties.
|While we will try to put your SoRA in place as quickly as possible, there may be occasions where you need support for teaching events or assessments while you are waiting for your SoRA to be set up. If you are in this position, you should speak to your Departmental SoRA Contact who can liaise with UCL Student Support and Wellbeing to work out whether temporary adjustments can be put in place until your SoRA is confirmed. You should not normally need to submit Extenuating Circumstances to access temporary adjustments.
3.5.3 Submitting an EC claim relating to a SoRA condition
|Any EC claim relating to a condition that is already covered by your SoRA should normally be accompanied by supporting evidence (i.e. it is not normally eligible for self-certification). Section 1.5: Providing Supporting Evidence includes more information.
|First EC claim relating to a SoRA condition
|The first time that you submit an EC claim relating to a SoRA condition, the EC approver should consult both your Departmental SoRA Contact and UCL Student Support and Wellbeing, and together agree one of the following:
|Normally, your SoRA should be reviewed to ensure that it covers all aspects of your condition. If SSW feels that you are eligible for additional support, they may amend your SoRA, for example by including adjustments for use in the event of an acute episode or fluctuation, such as access to longer extensions.
|If SoRA amendments are not possible (e.g. there is not enough time to put them in place before the assessment), you may be offered a one-off EC mitigation, if that would be appropriate in the circumstances.
|Departments can use their Departmental SoRA Statement to advise UCL Student Support and Wellbeing on appropriate adjustments in the subject area to help tailor SoRAs to individual students and expedite the process.
|Subsequent EC claims relating to a SoRA condition
|If you submit a subsequent EC claim relating to a SoRA condition, a full EC Panel should be convened to discuss the options:
|You should be referred for a more holistic review of your support needs in the form of a Support Plan under the Support to Study Procedure (see Section 7).
|If the EC Panel feels that a Support Plan is not yet necessary, they may agree to consult both your Departmental SoRA Contact and UCL Student Support and Wellbeing, and together agree whether your SoRA should be amended, for example to include additional adjustments for use in the event of an acute episode or fluctuation, such as access to longer extensions.
|The EC Panel may offer you a one-off EC mitigation, if that would be appropriate in the circumstances.
What happens if I have assessments before my SoRA is set up?
Can I have reasonable adjustments for attendance?
How do extensions work?
What happens if I am on a Study Abroad or Placement programme?
What happens on Clinical and Initial Teacher Education placements?
Does my Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) apply if I take a module in another department?