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Disabilities

Support for disabled students and applicants at RCS

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. There are many disabled students who have successfully completed courses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and many who are studying here now, including students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, mental health issues such as depression, epilepsy, IBS, asthma, diabetes and ME.

Come and visit us

If you are wondering whether or not to apply to the Royal Conservatoire, why not come for a visit? We encourage all applicants to come and look round and talk to staff and students to see if you feel it is the right place for you. You may also want to check that we have sufficient facilities in place for you to study here, or to discuss your needs so that we can offer you maximum support.

Who do I contact for more information?

Contact Dr Jane Balmforth, the Royal Conservatoire’s Counsellor and Disability Adviser, on +44 (0) 141 2708 282 or e-mail j.balmforth@rcs.ac.uk to arrange a visit. You can download our Information for Disabled Students and Applicants, which describes our provision and support for disabled students.

Should I declare a disability or medical condition when I apply?

Yes, we encourage you to disclose when you apply, rather than waiting. This is so we can provide you with support for your audition or interview. If you declare a disability or medical condition on your application form we will get in touch to ask if you would like to discuss any arrangements to support you at your audition or interview.

For students with dyslexia there is an excellent publication: Understanding dyslexia: An introduction for students in higher education by Jill Hammond and Fabian Hercules. Contact Jane Balmforth, j.balmforth@rcs.ac.uk if you would like a copy.

What happens when I start my studies at the Royal Conservatoire?

When you start at the Royal Conservatoire, our Counsellor and Disability Adviser will contact you in the first term and arrange a meeting with you and your Head of Department or Programme Leader to discuss how we can best support you. A Learning Agreement will then be drawn up and signed. If you are dyslexic, you will need an up-to-date assessment – don’t worry if you don’t have one as we can arrange for an assessment here.

I think I’m dyslexic but I’m not sure.

If you have always wondered if you might be dyslexic, but have never been assessed, we can arrange for you to have an assessment. Alternatively, you may have had a preliminary assessment at school, but do not have a full psychological assessment (a full assessment is necessary for applying for DSA – see the next section below.)

What other support is available?

Jane can assist with completing applications to your funding body (Student Award Agency for Scotland, Student Finance England, Wales or NI) for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). The DSA consists of equipment (e.g. a laptop, mind mapping software) and personal support (e.g. a note-taker, scribe, reader).

To apply for DSA you will need a full psychological assessment (for dyslexia) or a letter from your doctor or consultant, in the case of medical conditions. More information is available from the website of your funding body: SAAS, Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

When you apply for DSA you will be referred for a needs assessment, where you will speak to an assessor in detail about your course and how your medical condition or disability affects you. The assessor will then recommend equipment and personal support to be provided by your funding body. Please ask Jane if you have any questions about applying for DSA.

The Royal Conservatoire also has an Effective Learning Service (ELS) to support students in all aspects of their studies. The ELS tutors are available to discuss essay writing, revision for exams, research methods, structuring written assignments, among many aspects of study support. For further information please click on the link: Effective Learning Service.

How accessible is the Royal Conservatoire?

The Royal Conservatoire has level access on the ground floor and a lift suitable for a wheelchair serves all floors. Many of the lecture theatres and auditoria have induction loops and vibrating pager fire alarms are available. The software packages Texthelp Read & Write and Inspiration have been installed in the IT suite. For more details on facilities, click on the link for the booklet Information for Disabled Students and Applicants or ask Jane Balmforth for a copy of the booklet.