Assessment Process

The assessment will take place in our Access Centre, and is designed to match your individual needs with those of your proposed course. The process will further identify; support strategies, the types of equipment you’ll need, training to make best use of the equipment, how much it will cost and where you can get them.


All recommendations are required to be directly associated with a difficulty you have as a result of your disability. Please note that specific software or hardware can only be included where the disability demands it.

How can I arrange my assessment?

To arrange an assessment, you can complete our online appointment form – hyperlink to appointment form to begin the process of speaking with our team. You can also use our address details and send letters to Dave Parrington.

We will ask you to provide your Student Finance England approval letter and evidence of your disability such as; a letter from a medical specialist or GP or a psychologist’s report, if you are dyslexic. Please also note that if you need assistance with your paper work, call the team and we will be happy to help you fill it out.


Once we receive the information we will send you written confirmation of your assessment appointment, together with a map and directions on how to find us, and an outline of what to expect during your assessment.


Alternatively, you can email the completed forms, or print them out and post them to us. When we receive your completed forms we will contact you to arrange a convenient time for your assessment.

What happens after the assessment?

After the Disabled Students Allowance assessment, the Assessor will write a report outlining your needs and recommended strategies.


A draft of the report will be sent to you for approval within 10 working days. The report will contain recommendations within the scope of the Disabled Students’ Allowance. This is for the consideration of your funding body along with advice for you and your university or college. You will have the opportunity to ask any further questions you may have.


Once the report has been agreed by you, a copy will be sent by Pennine Lancashire Access Centre to your funding body. They will then write to you outlining how you should proceed to acquire any equipment and support.


With your permission, a copy of the report will be sent to the Higher Education Learning Support Co-ordinator /Disability Officer at your Higher Education Institution/Open University.

How can you prepare for the assessment?

Before you attend your appointment, take time to think about your course of study and the likely impact on you. We also recommend you think about how effective your previous study strategies were.


Consider things such as receiving help from family, friends, teachers or support tutors and if specific examination arrangements were made for you. It will be helpful to both you and your Assessor to get the best outcome.

What happens at an assessment?

The assessment is the opportunity to discuss how your disability or learning difficulties affects your study and work. You will be able to discuss past experiences and any coping strategies you use with our Assessor. The assessment involves no tests or judgement on your academic ability. You will complete the assessment in a safe environment, where you will discuss and explore different support options and receive recommendations.


The assessment will give you a chance to evaluate many of the latest assistive technologies including information and communication technology and/or ergonomic equipment appropriate to your needs. You and the Assessor will decide on the most appropriate support to your needs. Where assistive computer technology is recommended the Assessor will usually specify a supplier from an approved supplier list.


All of this will be documented in the report. On average a Disabled Students Allowance assessment takes about 2 hours.

What types of support may be recommended?

There are many types of support that can be recommended.


Some examples are; one-to-one learning support, a note-taker, communicator support workers, mentors, educational support, assistance for mobility needs, access arrangements for examinations, computer equipment and software, ergonomic equipment and recording/organisational devices.

How long will it be before I receive my equipment?

This depends on your funding body (Student Finance England/NHS).


However, usually you should know if the report’s recommendations have been approved in approximately 3 – 6 weeks after receipt of your report.


Please note that once the Assessment Report has been sent to your funding body, Pennine Lancashire Access Centre has no control over the outcome of the decision or the length of time the decision takes.


If you have not heard anything within 3 weeks you should contact the person dealing with your request at your funding body using the contact details on the front of your Assessment Report.


Your funding body may order your equipment direct from the suppliers, and you can expect delivery in a further 4 – 6 weeks. You may receive funding so that you are able to purchase equipment directly. However, it is important that you do not purchase any items until your funding body has given consent.