Statement on disability disclosure by students

The University of Hertfordshire is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and endeavouring to ensure that it meets the needs of disabled people.

It proactively takes steps to provide an environment in which people feel able to disclose a disability.  

If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose this and any other relevant information so we can make reasonable adjustments and provide you with information that could support your studies.

We recognise that disclosure may be difficult and would like to reassure you that we will treat the information relating to your disability you provide as sensitive personal data.

All arrangements for storage and processing of this information will be consistent with the University’s Data Protection Policy (IM08) and Data Management Policy (IM12).

Read more about Data Protection.

This Statement refers to policies and procedures within the University of Hertfordshire only.  If you are a student registered with the University but studying wholly or mainly at another institution, information about your disability will generally be collected and responded to in accordance with that institution’s own policies and procedures.

The University will only enter into partnerships with other institutions which have policies that comply with relevant legislative requirements and good practice in respect of matters relating to disability.

Confidentiality

Information that you disclose to staff in Disability Services about your disability will generally only be shared with other staff once we have your explicit consent and only to the extent that this is necessary to put support in place and make the reasonable adjustments that you require. 

At your request only the required adjustments, and not the nature of your disability, need be communicated to others; and if there is no requirement for any adjustments and you do not wish for staff to be made aware of your disability, then there would be no need to communicate to others any information that you disclose.  

Only in exceptional circumstances (for example, if there is risk to you or others) would it be necessary to disclose to others within and outside of the University details of your disability without your explicit consent.  Should a situation like this occur,  reasonable steps would be taken to seek permission from you where practicable before any information is shared. 

Disability data will be used on an anonymised basis for the University’s equal opportunities monitoring requirements and will be included in the completion of statistical returns to external bodies such as the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Disclosure

You will be asked to disclose any disabilities and invited to discuss related needs when you apply to the University and when you register as a student. This will be handled in a secure, sensitive way.

Listings of applicants and students who have disclosed disabilities are prepared for staff with designated responsibilities for disabled students so they can contact you to discuss any specific adjustments that you may require. 

The University will take proactive steps to promote the work of the Disability Services department to all students, however it is your responsibility to make contact with staff in the department should you wish to discuss support or adjustments.

Once you have made contact, your Disability Adviser will agree with you a Study Needs Agreement which will specify the adjustments you require which the University will provide.  You will be asked in that context to sign a Disability Disclosure Statement to specify the level of disclosure you consent to (see Appendix 1). 

Whilst it is your responsibility to decide what the University knows about your disability, for some students who are undertaking programmes of study in professional disciplines, disclosure is a requirement of the accrediting professional body which provides a statutory licence to practise and the University must comply with this requirement.  It is therefore important that all such applicants and students respond fully to the disclosure request.

If you choose not to disclose your disability during admissions or registration you can still disclose subsequently at any stage during your studies.

Staff awareness

Apart from your disclosure, staff may become aware of your disability in other ways such as academic references, during Open Days, when you seek advice, or in casual conversation with you.

In such circumstances, you will be encouraged to contact designated staff to discuss any support and adjustments that would be useful to you. With your consent staff can also inform an appropriate member of staff in Disability Services and ask them to contact you.

Further information

You can discuss any concerns about disclosure of your disability with the University’s Head of Disability Services or another member of the Disability Services department.

Email Disability Services or call us on +44 (0)1707 281338.