Disclosing a disability

The Disability and Dyslexia Service aims to operate within a culture of trust, integrity, and a respect for the law and for the dignity of all individuals. Information received from, and about applicants and students in relation to disability is treated in the strictest confidence and in accordance with the details outlined in this policy.

The term Student(s) includes applicants and existing students with a disability. The term disability should be interpreted in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and may therefore include students with specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, and a range of medical conditions.

1. Disclosure

a. Reasons Students disclose

The reason that the university asks Students for information about their disability is so that it can best consider suitable arrangements, including reasonable adjustments, to support them during their studies. This might include in-class and assessment arrangements, accommodation and other things like placement support and field trips. 

Most applicants will disclose on their UCAS or application form, which triggers a registration process and enables the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) to contact the applicant to find out more.   However, Students can disclose at any time before starting university or during their academic career. At this point they are encouraged to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service to discuss their support needs.  

b. The impact of disclosure on the application process

Disclosing a disability does not impact on the admissions decision for an applicant. An application is judged on its merits and the applicant’s potential ability to meet the competencies needed for the course with any reasonable adjustments in place.  

Disclosure enables adjustments to be considered. In rare situations there may be course competencies that cannot be met even with inclusive teaching and reasonable adjustments in place. In these situations the admissions tutor will discuss the options with the applicant. But this is only possible on disclosure of a disability. 

c. Optional disclosure 

Students do not have to disclose their disability to the university, but if they choose not to they may not receive all the support they need. The purpose of disclosing is to enable the university to consider a Student’s support entitlements and discuss with the student how they might be supported

Note: Some courses are externally regulated and require applicants to complete a declaration of health questionnaire and be assessed by an occupational health adviser. If this is relevant the applicant will be advised at the time of application.  These applicants still need to decide whether to formally disclose to the university for the purposes of accessing support through the Disability and Dyslexia Service.

d. Should I disclose my disability?

We recommend that the answer to this question is 'Yes'. This is because it means that we can support you if you do so. We would also suggest that you disclose before you arrive at the University as this helps us to work with you to get things in place as early as possible, including funding, reasonable adjustments and accommodation requests. 

You will be given the opportunity to disclose a disability on a number of occasions (for example, on your UCAS form), and you can chose to disclose at any time during your studies here. Once you disclose, we will ask you to register with our service and at this stage you will be asked who you are willing to allow us to share this information with. Until we have your permission we will not share this information with anyone outside of our department. 

The sooner you disclose the better.  We can make any reasonable adjustments and ensure your support requirements are put in place. 

You can contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) any time for a confidential chat about disclosing a disability.

e. What happens when a student discloses?

Applicants who disclose will be invited to register on-line with the Disability and Dyslexia Service and to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS). DDS will be able to provide a student with information about how to organise their support at University, including applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and arranging an appointment with a Disability Advisor. 

All applicants and in particular those with complex needs, are encouraged to come and meet with one of the DDS Disability Advisers as early as possible prior to commencing their course to discuss their support needs whilst at University.

Existing students who disclose will also be invited to register on-line with the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) and should also book an appointment through firstpoint with a Disability Adviser to discuss their needs.

Once the Disability and Dyslexia Service has discussed a package of support with a student it will, subject to paragraph 2a below, share relevant information with key members of university staff. 

f. Disclosure on placement

Placements are a vital part of the student journey on many courses and as such it is important to discuss placement needs at the earliest opportunity. However, the university will not automatically disclose a Student’s disability or support needs to a placement provider, although some academic departments will actively support Students through this process. Therefore disabled students needing assistance with placements or placement disclosure should speak with either their academic department or a member of the Disability and Dyslexia Service.  

2. Confidentiality and sharing of disclosed information

a. Student consent to share disability information

Information about a Student’s disability is held confidentially. However, with the Student’s consent the Disability and Dyslexia Service will share disability related information on a need to know basis with other members of staff, or outside bodies (e.g. Student Finance England) to ensure a student is appropriately supported.   

Students are asked for their written consent to share information when they register with the Disability and Dyslexia Service and a Student can choose their preferred level of disclosure. Usually the Disability and Dyslexia Service will only share disability information in accordance with the Student’s wishes.

If a student does not want their support needs disclosed outside of the Disability and Dyslexia Service, then this is usually respected. The implications of this decision – that the student might not get the support that they need – is explained in full to them. The Student can review this decision with the Disability and Dyslexia Service at any time.

b. Reasons to break confidentiality

Rarely the Disability and Dyslexia Service will be required to share information without a Student’s consent. This will only occur when:

  • A Student is considered to be at immediate or serious risk of harm to them self or others

  • Legal proceedings demand information is disclosed.

c. Sharing information with Parents/Guardians

The Disability and Dyslexia Service note that they do not act in loco parentis, even if a Student is under 18 years old. 

General enquiries made by parents or guardians on behalf of students with regard to the nature and level of provision available in relation to disability are answered fully.

Specific requests for information about the degree and /or nature of support being received by a son or daughter whilst on course are not permitted without the written consent of the Student.  Disability and Dyslexia Service staff politely explain its policy in relation to students’ rights to privacy and confidentiality.

d. Disability information disclosed to any member of UW staff

Where a student makes a disclosure to any member of University staff about their disability, the staff member will ask the student if they have already disclosed and been in touch with the Disability and Dyslexia Service.

If the student has not previously declared, then the staff member must follow the instructions in DDS Staff Guidance Note: Advice on disclosure of a disability, to ensure that the University’s legal duty to support the student is met.

3. Retention of records

Students’ files will be kept for a minimum of 6 years after they have left University (and no longer than 10 years). Files are kept electronically and/or in locked cabinets which are accessible only by Disability and Dyslexia Service Staff. At the end of this period files will be destroyed.

Contact us

We meet with students in a confidential space in firstpoint.  To book a Disability Advisor appointment please contact or visit firstpoint, which is open Monday to Friday 9:00am - 4:00pm, and is situated in the Peirson Study and Guidance Centre on St Johns Campus.  

Telephone: 01905 542551    Email: firstpoint@worc.ac.uk

To contact the team directly please email disability@worc.ac.uk or telepone 01905 855531

We are also on Twitter  https://twitter.com/UoWDDS

A detailed access guide to the Peirson Centre can be found on AccessAble.co.uk