Disability Assessment Centre

Page last updated:
08 Sep 2021

If you have a mental health problem, long-term illness or any other disability, the Disability Assessment Centre is here to support you in accessing funded support from your funding body.

The Leeds Beckett – Disability Assessment Centre is a Disabled Students Allowance Assessment Centre that caters for both Leeds Beckett and external students. Our service enables students to access funded support from their funding body via a study needs assessment. Our service also covers all funding agencies throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. We have a team of three assessors who are able to assess any mental health problem, long-term illness or other disabilities over both of our campuses.

What is a study needs assessment?

A study needs assessment is a discussion with your assessor to determine what difficulties a mental health problem, long-term illness or any other disability have on your studies. The conversation will usually cover the main aspects of an academic programme and will cover some of the following elements: reading, writing, taking notes, managing your own time, accessing and using technology, exams and placements or practical tasks.

  • The assessment itself will on average last between 1.5 to 2.5 hours, however, it may take longer depending on the nature of your mental health problem, long-term illness or any other disability and the impacts this has on study.
  • Once your assessment is completed, your assessor will determine what recommendations are required to enable you to access your studies more effectively. This may include equipment and assistive software, non-medical helper support, and an allowance for printing and travel.
  • This report will then go to your funding body who will then determine whether the recommendations are appropriate and fundable.

Meet the team

Kirsty Waiting is the Disability Assessment Centre Administrator. Kirsty joined the team in February 2015 from the Faculty of Business and Law where she worked as a course administrator. Since joining the team, Kirsty has transformed the booking and administrative processes to ensure students contacting the centre receive timely and appropriate information throughout the Study Needs Assessment journey. Kirsty’s interest in enabling disabled students to access their course independently began when she worked for the Open University. Kirsty also adds an international element to the team as she is originally from Durban in South Africa!

Sharon Almond is an access adviser and study needs assessor and has worked at our university since March 2015. Sharon previously worked as an access consultant at the RNIB where she regularly undertook access audits, design appraisals and training in relation to the built environment. Sharon’s recent work has involved her in learning more about the assistive technology that is available for students to use to enhance their learning. This includes software that is available through our university systems, software that can be accessed via Disabled Students Allowance and apps which are increasingly being used to support teaching and learning.

Sarah Hinman is an access adviser and study needs assessor who joined our university in May 2016, having previously worked as an English and learning support teacher at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College in Leeds. She taught students with a range of disabilities and study needs, and was the specialist teacher for students on the autistic spectrum. She was also a personal tutor, Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities mentor and internal verifier. Her work had increasingly involved the use of assistive technology and she led an initiative to promote its use in teaching and learning. Sarah is an advocate of inclusivity and of fostering a positive and supportive environment which uses good practice and technology to benefit everyone.

Nick Hatton is the Senior Study Needs Assessor and Centre Manager, who joined our team in March 2018. He has worked within the field of disability-related support, education and accessible information for over 20 years, and has extensive experience in the field of sensory loss, having worked for Action on Hearing Loss (RNID), RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind, and various voluntary sector organisations within his home town. Nick is qualified up to Level 6 in British Sign Language, and is classed as a native signer, due to growing up in a Deaf family. His previous role was for a non-medical helper (NMH) educational provider as a non-executive director, where he was responsible for operational functions of the business and has come to us with wide-ranging knowledge of DSA quality assurance framework auditing and NMH provision.

Kirsty Waiting is the Disability Assessment Centre Administrator. Kirsty joined the team in February 2015 from the Faculty of Business and Law where she worked as a course administrator. Since joining the team, Kirsty has transformed the booking and administrative processes to ensure students contacting the centre receive timely and appropriate information throughout the Study Needs Assessment journey. Kirsty’s interest in enabling disabled students to access their course independently began when she worked for the Open University. Kirsty also adds an international element to the team as she is originally from Durban in South Africa!

Sharon Almond is an access adviser and study needs assessor and has worked at our university since March 2015. Sharon previously worked as an access consultant at the RNIB where she regularly undertook access audits, design appraisals and training in relation to the built environment. Sharon’s recent work has involved her in learning more about the assistive technology that is available for students to use to enhance their learning. This includes software that is available through our university systems, software that can be accessed via Disabled Students Allowance and apps which are increasingly being used to support teaching and learning.

Sarah Hinman is an access adviser and study needs assessor who joined our university in May 2016, having previously worked as an English and learning support teacher at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College in Leeds. She taught students with a range of disabilities and study needs, and was the specialist teacher for students on the autistic spectrum. She was also a personal tutor, Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities mentor and internal verifier. Her work had increasingly involved the use of assistive technology and she led an initiative to promote its use in teaching and learning. Sarah is an advocate of inclusivity and of fostering a positive and supportive environment which uses good practice and technology to benefit everyone.

Nick Hatton is the Senior Study Needs Assessor and Centre Manager, who joined our team in March 2018. He has worked within the field of disability-related support, education and accessible information for over 20 years, and has extensive experience in the field of sensory loss, having worked for Action on Hearing Loss (RNID), RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind, and various voluntary sector organisations within his home town. Nick is qualified up to Level 6 in British Sign Language, and is classed as a native signer, due to growing up in a Deaf family. His previous role was for a non-medical helper (NMH) educational provider as a non-executive director, where he was responsible for operational functions of the business and has come to us with wide-ranging knowledge of DSA quality assurance framework auditing and NMH provision.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

A.

How you apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) depends on whether you’re studying full-time or part-time. You can find more information on Gov.UK.

You can check your eligibility and find out how to apply by visiting your funding body website:

A.

This will depend on your mental health problem, long-term illness or any other disability and varies from person to person. It will also heavily depend upon what difficulties you experience when undertaking your studies. Your assessor will discuss what recommendations meet your needs during your needs assessment.

A.

On average, from application to receiving any equipment or recommendations, the maximum it can take if you do not currently have any medical evidence is up to 14 weeks.

A.

If you have a mental health condition, long-term illness or physical disability then use the forms below. For dyslexia, SPLD and autistic students you will need to obtain a diagnostic report and submit it to your funding body. If you need a diagnostic report we recommend speaking to your disability adviser for more information.

A.

If you have a neurodiverse condition, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autistic spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, you will be required to provide a diagnostic report from a qualified psychologist. If you have a mental health condition, long-term illness or physical disability then you can use the ‘Disability evidence’ form which is available from your funding body and completed by your GP or another medical practitioner.

A.

Our role is only to provide recommendations that can be directly funded by your funding body, we are unable to make reasonable adjustment recommendations for your university. If you are having difficulties at university, it is advisable to get in touch with your Disability Advice team.

A.

You may be entitled to a laptop, however, this will depend on your mental health problem, long-term illness or any other disability and whether you face difficulties in certain aspects of your studies that warrant access to specific assistive technology. There are also further restrictions depending on your funding body. Students currently funded by Student Finance England are also required to make a £200 contribution towards any recommended computer device.

How to contact / find us

0113 812 3357 (we welcome Text Relay calls)

Main Centre

Leeds Beckett University 

PR G12 Priestley Hall

Headingley Campus

Leeds

LS6 3QS

Outreach Centre

Leeds Beckett University 

CL118 Calverley Building

City Campus

Portland Way

Leeds

LS1 3HE

Please consider using our registration form as this will ensure your appointment request will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Once your request is received and processed you will receive emails guiding you through the remainder of the process. 


Student Finance England Funding for students with disabilities and other needs

Student Finance England Funding for students with disabilities and other needs BSL

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