Over 120 support staff across the UK
Average student confidence increases from 3/10 to 8/10
85% of our team self-identify as disabled or neurodiverse
For every £1 spent with D&A, a return of £16.55 of social value is created (New Economics Foundation 2020)
3062 students supported in the 2019/20 academic year
16 872 support sessions delivered in the 2019/20 academic year
We are working with Higher Education Providers (HEPs) across the UK to develop lasting, inclusive cultures where barriers are removed, diversity is championed, and marginalised students can flourish.
To help HEPs improve disabled student retention, attainment, and well-being by creating an anticipatory environment where students and staff can access effective resources and support.
After a number of years supporting disabled students, we noticed that those unable to access Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), such as international students, were often slipping through the support net. In response, we began assisting HEPs to offer more integrated, flexible and bespoke support.
A key goal for us this academic year 2020/21 is to continue doing all we can to support HEPs through the challenges that the COVID-19 restrictions have and will continue to place on study environments. From helping students online to recommending assistive technology that will assist with blended learning, we hope that our services will continue to be as effective and enabling as they have ever been despite restrictions.
- Eliminates the gap in degree outcomes (1sts or 2:1s) between disabled and non-disabled students.
- Champions a Universal Design for Learning where flexible learning environments and learning spaces accommodate individual learning differences.
- Reduces the need for individual reasonable adjustments to be made or requested because accessibility considerations will be embedded proactively in course design; all students can physically get to and sit in academic spaces while having easy access to learning and assessment materials.
- Reduced barriers will mean students will have instant access to additional support when they need it most.
- Students will have access to state-of-the-art assistive technology and training, which will allow them to engage with their course more efficiently and, through the integration of bespoke study skills strategies, work more effectively.
- The HEP becomes a more attractive destination for students because of a genuinely inclusive learning and social environment that enables students to express their diversity and celebrate it.
By championing the Universal Design for Learning, we equip HEPs with the knowledge and confidence to proactively create inclusive learning environments. Initially, we use the table below to identify gaps in a university’s student support offering. We then work with the university to develop a customised support package based on their current outlook, needs, and resources. Our services are tailored specifically to each university and its students. We seek to cover all bases, from campus-wide accessibility audits and staff workshops to assistive technology consultancy and one-to-one training.
Audit, Review or Study
|Personal Study Skills Support
Study Strategy and Research Workshops
Personal Study Needs Assessment
|Personal Assistive Technology Training
Assistive Technology Strategy Workshops
Assistive Technology Provision Policy Review and Redesign
Digital User Accessibility Audit
Pedagogy and Assessment Accessibility Review
Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Policy Review
|Personal Mental Health and Wellbeing Mentoring
Wellbeing and Mindfulness Workshops
|Digital Wellbeing Strategy Workshops
Personal Brain in Hand Guidance
Digital Wellbeing Strategies and Tools Review and Promotion
|Student Experience and Attitudinal Study Consultancy
Activities, Events and Opportunities Accessibility and Inclusion Review
Student Voice Engagement, Integration and Collaboration Review
Widening Student Access and Participation
|Open Day, Orientation and Higher Education Transition Workshops
Collaborative Engagement Events with Local Aimhigher and Widening Participation Organisations
|Assistive Technology, Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and Student Portal Welcome Workshops
Assistive Technology Provision Promotion and Communication Strategy Review
|Physical Accessibility and Wayfinding Audit
Marketing and Comms Language for Engagement Consultancy
Widening Access and Participation Policy, Ownership and Accountability Review
|Personal Placement and Apprenticeship Strategy Coaching
Personal Placement and Apprenticeship Impact Needs Assessment
Access to Work Information, Advice and Guidance Workshops
|Personal Placement and Apprenticeship Assistive Technology Training
Placement and Apprenticeship Assistive Technology Workshops
|Access to Work Information, Advice and Guidance Review
Collaborative Careers Events with Local Disabled Graduates and Recruitment Organisations
Staff Continued Professional Development (CPD)
|Disability and Inclusion Training and Awareness Workshops
Space, Place, and Content Design Workshops
|Assistive Technology Training and Digital Accessibility Awareness Workshops
Personal Assistive Technology and Digital Accessibility Awareness Training
|Accessibility Policy Design and Holistic Implementation Strategies|
With 85% of our team self-identifying as disabled or neurodiverse, we have a unique perspective, insight and empathy when designing and delivering our services. Since our beginnings in 2011, we have worked directly with 25 universities and supported over 20 000 students, seeing firsthand the benefits of an inclusive environment on student well-being and attainment.
Feedback showing the benefits of our services were further highlighted in 2019 when the New Economics Foundation independently verified our social impact. As a social enterprise, we deliver over £9m of social value annually. For every £1 spend with us, we create £16 of social value, illustrating the benefits that practical support has on disabled students and their futures beyond university.
Our case studies
‘D&A place a strong emphasis on each student’s individual learning strengths, styles and requirements, with a focus on quality and usefulness of the training for each student. Feedback from students has been very positive. For these reasons, the Disability Advisory Service often approaches D&A to provide AT training for students at the University of Oxford, in the knowledge they will promptly, reliably and effectively tailor support to each student’s requirements.’
Helen Young, Deputy Head of Disability Advisory Service, University of Oxford, February 2020
‘It was getting really tough to manage everything at once and having your support has helped in a lot of ways. I really like how the support is still made accessible online, and it doesn’t feel less beneficial than a face-to-face session. In the current situation, I’ve needed my sessions more than ever’
Charlie, Undergraduate, King’s College London
‘[My tutor] has honestly been a godsend. She has helped me to feel like I can achieve so much.’
Sam, Undergraduate, University of Birmingham
‘[My mentor] has been an absolute lifesaver and so far, has made the biggest impact on my education of all the interventions and provisions in my plan.’
Leila, Undergraduate, Open University
‘[My trainer] was very friendly, and I felt confident asking questions. I am glad she was able to give me examples of when to use the software and how it can be applied to aspects of my course and real life.’
Matt, Postgraduate, University of Southampton
‘[My trainer] was very friendly and I felt confident asking questions. I am glad she was able to give me examples of when to use the software and how it can be applied to aspects of my course and real life. She listened to my current struggles I faced without the technology I now have and has made me feel a lot happier knowing what things I can do now.’
Jessica, Undergraduate, Goldsmiths, University of London
‘We worked with Diversity and Ability, who carefully advised us which technologies to include in our new suite of inclusive technologies… From securing the right licences to the networking of the tools, D&A accompanied us every step of the way. Their insight into Disablement and (neuro)diversity was critical in highlighting the importance of this project, drawing the conversation away from disability, to difference.’
Mike Horner, Service Line Manager (Education), Imperial College London, June 2020
‘Our experiences have been very positive with D&A since COVID 19. We have found them to be incredibly helpful and super responsive, often within a matter of hours. The continuity and provision of support has been positively reported on by many students. Many students have reported that the support has become even more important for them during this period and the remote nature does not seem to have caused any major problems.’
Dr Alexandra Stanton, Head of Student Support Disability, Wellbeing, Counselling and Chaplaincy Services, Goldsmiths University of London, July 2020
Others we have worked with: