Disability Service

At QMU, we help current students who have a disability to access the support that they need.

This includes everyone, whether you’re an undergraduate, postgraduate, EU or International student. Our Disability Service is entirely confidential.

The Disability Service provides friendly advice, guidance and information, and liaises with key staff throughout QMU to ensure reasonable adjustments are in place for eligible students during their studies.

What do you mean by disability?

What do you mean by disability?

We know that not everyone who uses our services thinks of themselves as disabled. We use the term ‘disability’ as it is used in Equality Law.

Equality Act

This legislation states that the definition of disability is any condition which has a substantial, adverse and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

We see students with a range of difficulties including, but not limited to:

  • autism spectrum conditions
  • dyslexia, dyspraxia and other specific learning difficulties
  • mental health difficulties
  • mobility impairments
  • sensory impairments
  • Longstanding illness or medical conditions such as epilepsy, HIV, AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue

Support we offer

Disability Advisers work closely with staff throughout the University to ensure recommended supports are put in place. These staff are:

  • Academic Disabled Student Coordinators in academic departments
  • Disabled Student Coordinators in non-academic departments

Individual Learning Plan

Through an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for each disabled student, we aim to offer a package of academic and personal support tailored to meet individual needs. ILPs are regularly reviewed and can be altered at any time should individual circumstances change. Each ILP is devised during a meeting between the student and their Disability Adviser and signed by both.

A copy of the signed ILP is given to the student and, with the student’s signed permission a second copy is passed to the relevant contact in the student’s subject area. The information from the ILP is then shared with other staff with whom the student will come into contact to ensure requirements are taken into consideration.

Reasonable Adjustments

A range of supports tailored to meet a student’s individual needs are noted on an ILP. These could include for instance ‘permission to record in lectures’.

Assessment/Examination Arrangements

A range of assessment arrangements to meet a student’s individual needs are noted on an ILP and aim to minimise disability-related disadvantage in examination and assessment situations.

To receive assessment arrangements, students must register with the Disability Service and have an ILP in place.

It is important to meet with a Disability Adviser as soon as possible. For some students this can be arranged prior to the start of their course but if this is not suitable students should arrange an appointment with a Disability Adviser shortly after starting their studies. There is high demand for appointments especially during the weeks close to examination dates, so students should make sure to contact us early to agree support provision and put it in place.

Network Software 

All computers that students use in QMU have assistive software installed. Texthelp ReadandWrite software supports literacy, Mindmanager software supports mindmap construction and SSOverlay software addresses visual strain. Microsoft Office also has several supportive features within its applications.

The Effective Learning Service (ELS)

The Effective Learning Service is located in the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) and provides support to develop study skills and academic writing to all students. More information about the Effective Learning Service.

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs)

Through creating an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for each disabled student, we aim to offer a package of academic and personal support, which is constantly monitored and adapted to meet individual needs.

You will devise an ILP with the Disability Adviser for your School of study. With your permission, this will be sent to the Academic Disabled Student Co-Ordinator in your subject area who will meet with you to discuss and sign the ILP. The information from this plan will then be shared with other staff with whom you will come into contact to ensure your requirements are taken into consideration.

  • Access around the campus
  • Liaison with tutors and ADSCs concerning adjustments
  • Exams and Assessments
  • Study skills support
  • Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)
  • Assistive Technology Room

Important information for Individual Learning Plan holders

Who sees ILPs

Your reasonable adjustments and assessment arrangements can be seen by Academic, Disability Service, Registry and Academic Administration staff.

Sharing your ILP

  • Do not assume that every lecturer / tutor is aware of everything in your ILP.
  • You may share your ILP directly with academic staff who you wish to make aware of the impact of your disability on your learning and performance; this is especially important if you want them to take any action.
  • You are recommended to share this document with your Placement Educator If you are on a course that includes placement.

Use of extensions

  • If ‘Allow up to 7 days extension to deadlines for individual written work’ is recommended in your ILP, you can use this extension without asking permission from academic staff or the Academic Administration.
  • ‘Allow up to 7 days extension to deadlines for individual written work’ applies to individual written work only.
  • ‘Allow up to 7 days extension to deadlines for individual written work’ does not apply to group work.  For group work all students regardless of whether or not they have an ILP must submit by the required date. 
  • Any extension to deadlines for longer than 7 days must be individually discussed with your Programme Leader; you may be asked to complete and submit an ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ Form with associated evidence.
  • If an extension to deadlines is used for formative work, there is a risk that you may not receive feedback.  If you have concerns about submitting formative work on the ‘normal’ due date, contact your Module Coordinator.
  • All students including students with ILPs are encouraged to meet initial hand-in dates; support with managing workload to achieve this can be sourced from staff in the Effective Learning Service, and for eligible students, from individual tutors working with the Disability Service.  Use of an extension may cause an overload of work during the week following a deadline and prolonged reliance on deadlines may impair the development of strong employability skills.

Making changes to your ILP

To discuss changes to an ILP, please contact your Disability Adviser at disabilityadvisers@qmu.ac.uk or make an appointment on Student Central.

How to make an appointment

To book an online or face-to-face appointment with a Disability Adviser, please visit Student Central.

or email studentservices@qmu.ac.uk


Exams and assessments support

We can offer you a wide range of exam support, wherever we assess that this is needed to minimise disability-related disadvantage.

Even if you’re not sure if or how we can help, it’s always worth talking to us.

How do I get exam support?

To receive exam support, you’ll need to register with us and have an Individual Learning Plan in place.

Your deadline for receiving exam support:

Before each main exam period (January, May and August), we have a deadline. If you want exam support and haven’t got this in place already, you’ll need to register with us and speak to an adviser before this deadline. There is a lot of demand for appointments in the week before the deadline, so make sure that you contact us early, or you may not be able to speak to an adviser to determine your support.

Assistive Technology facilities

Assistive Technologies (AT) Room

The Assistive Technology Room, located in the Learning Resource Centre, provides access to computers with specialised hardware and software. Facilities in this room are dedicated for the use of students accessing the Disability Service only.

Equipment in this room includes computers, scanners, desktop video magnifier (CCTV), soft keyboard, a height adjustable table and coloured paper.

Software in this room comprises network software and Audionotetaker, TextHelp Read & Write, and Mind Manager.  Other web based software such as Glean and MindMeister can of course also be accessed in the AT room.

The Assistive Technology Room is a restricted access area. To use it students must register with the Disability Service.

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

What is the Disabled Students’ Allowance?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a non-income assessed allowance for which eligible disabled students can apply for funding to cover the additional costs they may experience due to the impact of their disability. An example may be of a student who has difficulty reading from a screen and requires to print off a high volume of course materials, in doing so, the student is probably paying much more to access these than a non-disabled classmate.

DSA support can only be sourced by application to the relevant Funding Authority.

To be eligible for DSA students must:

  • provide appropriate evidence of disability
  • meet certain residency requirements
  • be on a course that is recognised by their Funding Authority

DSA Applications to Funding Authorities require a completed application form, appropriate evidence and a DSA Needs Assessment Report.

If you think you may be eligible for DSA, please contact the Disability Service and speak with a Disability Adviser.

More information about the Disabled Students’ Allowance

DSA can provide eligible students with a range of items including equipment, software, one-to-one support and additional funds.

The decision about what items are most appropriate is made during a DSA Needs Assessment where eligible students meet a DSA Needs Assessor to explore the impact of their disability on learning. Appropriate strategies to support individual issues are fully discussed. The DSA Needs Assessor writes a report for the relevant Funding Authority identifying recommended supports. A DSA Needs Assessment Report is only released to the Funding Authority according to student agreement.

For most eligible QMU students, DSA Needs Assessments can be arranged at the Queen Margaret University Needs Assessment Centre.

Funding Authorities: links to DSA  

Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)

Student Finance England (SFE)

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI)

Disability FAQs

Will you tell my tutors that I’ve been to see you and if I am diagnosed with dyslexia or a mental health condition will you pass on that information?

All enquiries to the Disability Service are treated in the strictest confidence and we will not pass on information unless you ask us to do so. Students may also find it helpful to disclose basic information to academic departments to ensure they receive the best possible support. One example might be telling lecturers that they have an Individual Learning Plan and are allowed to record lectures; another might be that they may need to miss classes on occasion as a result of a medical condition that necessitates hospital appointments.

Can you cure dyslexia?

Dyslexia is not a medical condition; it is a description of someone with a different learning style. Dyslexia cannot be ‘cured’, but students can develop strategies to address the difficulties it may present.

Will it say ‘dyslexic’ or ‘disabled’ on my degree certificate?


Do I have to request assessment/examination arrangements every year?

No, not unless you interrupt your studies, change your course, or your requirements change.

Will I get extensions on my coursework deadlines once I’ve been to see you?

Extensions to deadlines are only possible if this is an adjustment included in your Individual Learning Plan.

ILP extensions can only be for a maximum of 7 days. For longer course-work extensions you need to discuss your circumstances with relevant academic staff.

Do I have to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance every year? 


Do I have to return equipment provided through the Disabled Students' Allowance?

No, it is yours to keep provided you do not withdraw from your course in the year of your first DSA award. If you withdraw in that year, your Funding Authority may contact you regarding the award.

Different rules apply for students from the Republic of Ireland on undergraduate courses.

Is it a good idea to disclose my disability or specific learning difficulty on job application forms?

Many students ask us this question. Legally, employers cannot discriminate against disabled people and it is advisable to let employers know if you have a disability that may affect your performance at an interview; for example, if you are visually impaired they will need to send the directions for the interview electronically or in large print.

Keep in mind that a potential employer may be worried about how to support a member of staff with a disability, so they’ll be looking to you for advice. If you have an existing strategy which works - maybe you work effectively with specialist software to hear text read aloud - let them know. You are then providing them with a ready-made solution.

Completing a degree course with a disability will tell a future employer that you have worked hard and shown creativity and initiative by working around obstacles. As such, a good employer should view it as a positive attribute.

Confidentiality and Disclosure

QMU welcomes disabled students and aims to ensure that, as far as possible, appropriate support is offered to meet individual needs. QMU complies with current equality legislation and can offer a range of ‘reasonable adjustments’ to services so that disabled students are supported in their learning.

Confidentiality and Disclosure Policy

Disclosing information before applying to QMU 

If you have a disability or Specific Learning Difficulty/dyslexia, you are strongly encouraged to make early direct contact with the Disability Service so that we can tell you about the range of support that is available at Queen Margaret University. We can discuss with you reasonable adjustments that may best meet your needs during your course of study. We can arrange an individual visit on campus if this is required. Knowing about your support needs in advance can also help QMU to prepare and arrange your support in time for the start of your course.

We therefore encourage you to disclose your disability or Specific Learning Difficulty to us as soon as possible. Failure to do so may affect our ability to make certain adjustments that you may require.

Disability Statement

Queen Margaret University is committed to equality of opportunity and believes in a culture of diversity and inclusion. We offer flexible educational programmes to suit many different groups of students.

We aim to offer an accessible curriculum, which can be adapted to meet individual needs in an environment where consideration is given to enabling everyone to participate in all aspects of academic and social life.

See our student films below:


Disability Service

For more information or to book an appointment with a member of the team please visit Student Central

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Disability Service

Disability Service Team Contact 0131 474 0000