Disability Support

National Union of Students has long campaigned to remove the stigma from all disabilities, challenge perceptions, and encourage all members of our society to take a positive attitude towards understanding the nature of disability and overcoming prejudices.
However, NUS does not handle individual complaints against educational inductions and cannot represent individual students. If you need support or advocacy, we have some recommended steps and external organisations listed below that may be able to help you.

If you have a complaint or request for support, we would first suggest getting in touch with your local students’ union at your place of study, so they are aware of the issue and can provide support. Then you will need to raise any complaints internally to your place of study. Most will have a complaints page or process that is easy to find online.

You should also be encouraged to consult any relevant support services, including Counselling and Wellbeing, the Disability Advisory Service, the University Study Advisers, and the Student Advisers at your place of study. 
Secondly, please be aware that you are able to raise any complaints through an independent organization known as The Office of the Independent Adjudicator. The OIA is an independent body specifically set up to review student complaints.
Please see the OIA’s guidelines which highlight the importance of procedural fairness and good practice in supporting disabled students which may be illuminating to look at to evidence what you have experienced, and whether it was appropriate.

Organisations and tools where you can get further advice and support:


Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID)

Charity working for a world where hearing loss doesn’t limit or label people. Offers support, research, training and communication tools to break down barriers.

Anticipating reasonable adjustments: equality and diversity training pack 

This pack has been developed by the Equality Challenge Unit for HE institutions. The materials can also inform the work of students’ unions and will help staff providing services to anticipate and remove disabling barriers and provide an inclusive service for all staff and students.

British Dyslexia Association (BDA) 

Provides assessments, learning support, training and guidance to individuals, parents, teachers and employers to ensure that people who experience dyslexia can achieve their full potential.

Business Disability Forum 

Provides members with support by sharing expertise, advice, training and networking opportunities. Their Disability Standard is a tool to help organisations to become disability-smart. The briefings, toolkits and line manager guides cover every aspect of bringing organisations and disabled people together from recruitment and retention to reasonable adjustments and Disabled Employee Networks.

Disability equality guidance

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides a range of guidance to support disability equality on areas such as: guidance and good practice when employing disabled people, guidance for service providers on accessibility and reasonable adjustments and disability rights publications.

Disability Rights UK 

Works to mobilise disabled people’s leadership and independence, improve equality and human rights and break the link between disability and poverty. They have public helplines for disabled students, to report discrimination and to help with your personal budget.

Disability services: supporting international students

Equality Challenge Unit resource helping staff in disability services to support international students.

Evidencing equality: approaches to increasing disclosure and take-up of disabled students’ allowance 

This guidance from the Equality Challenge Unit aims to raise awareness of the approaches higher education institutions can take to increase the level of disability disclosure and take-up of disabled students' allowance (DSA).

Life, not numbers: A report into the experiences of disabled students in higher education using personal care packages (2010)

This report focuses on students using personal care packages, exploring their experiences in choosing an institution and managing the transition in to higher education. The differences between those who choose to attend institutions in their home area and those who move away are also explored.

Mental Health Toolkit

The NUS Disabled Students’ Campaign and the NUS Welfare Campaign have developed a toolkit offering tips and guidance on how you can campaign on Mental Health issues that may be affecting students in your institution.


Works to improve mental health and related support, care and social equality. Mind also provides advice, information and training.

National Text Relay Service – voice-to-text

Connects textphone / minicom users with telephone users instantly with a translator, reducing barriers to access for Deaf people and people affected by hearing loss or speech difficulties.

NUS Time to Change Toolkit

This resource has been produced by NUS in conjunction with Time to Change and aims to equip students' unions to understand how they and their institutions can use the Time to Change pledge as a springboard to developing work around student and staff mental health.


Pre-employment health questions - Guidance for employers on Section 60 of the Equality Act 2010 - ECU Guidance


Promoting inclusion and equality for disabled people through improved employment opportunities. Offers services to help employers recruit and retain disabled staff.

RNIB (Royal National Institute for Blind People)

Support, research and campaign work charity to advance equality for the two million people with sight loss in the UK. Offers training and advice on products and technology to enable blind and partially sighted people.


Charity offering services to disabled people and their families. Scope campaigns for equality and provides an employment service helping employers to recruit and support disabled staff.

Time to Change – Mental Health

Campaign to tackle stigma and end mental health discrimination, with useful online resources and thought provoking films.



Equality Advisory Service

Their Helpline advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales.



Stop Hate UK

Stop Hate UK works alongside local strategic partnerships to tackle Hate Crime and discrimination, encourage reporting and support the individuals and communities it affects.




Disability Law Service, fighting injustice for disabled people.


Access2Learn Student Resources and Grants


Related Articles